In some ways, you might have thought that our phones would actually be less susceptible to threats like malware compared to computers. This is because of the way our phones are designed, along with storefronts like Apple’s App Store and Google’s Play Store that have built-in security features meant to keep malware at bay.
Unfortunately, that isn’t the case and threats to mobile do exist and the best way to prevent yourself from falling victim to scams, hacks, and malware is to stay on top of the latest threats and also commonly-used attacks. It might also be a good idea to protect your device using security software like Bitdefender Total Security. The good thing is that you can buy Bitdefender
products at huge discounts online. Hence, you get the best value for your money and robust protection as well.
That being said, what are the threats that you should take seriously now? Read on to find out.
Many handset manufacturers these days have committed themselves to releasing security updates on a monthly basis to keep phones up-to-date on the latest threats. You might find having to update your phone every so often a troublesome process, but by not keeping your phone updated, it could leave you vulnerable.
This is because out-of-date devices usually means that these devices might have flaws that haven’t been patched yet, flaws that a hacker could take advantage of to break into your phone and steal critical information on it, like passwords, personal data, and more. Making this worse is that after a certain amount of time, manufacturers stop supporting devices entirely, leaving you vulnerable.
This means that even though you might consider it financially prudent to hold onto your phone for 5-6 years, are the potential security risks worth it?
Poor password choices
It can be a chore to remember many passwords and so it is not surprising that many people choose passwords that are simple to remember, but this is done at the detriment to your device’s security. A phone that isn’t secured properly makes it easy for people to guess your login credentials, so picking “1234” or “0000” for your phone’s PIN is probably not the best idea.
A survey back in 2019 by Google and Harris Poll found that over 50% of Americans reuse passwords across multiple accounts, meaning that if a hacker got into one of your accounts, they might be able to get into your other accounts as well. There are quite a few authenticator apps available for mobile that add an extra layer of security, so that might be worth checking out.
Not to mention password managers are pretty common these days and generating and memorizing a complex password has become a lot easier.
Links contained in emails from strangers or messengers from random people online should most definitely not be clicked. This is because you don’t know where the link will take you, and it could take you to a website that might initiate a drive-by download. This is where the link opens a website and initiates a download and install of a malware on your phone without your knowledge.
There are many websites like that in existence so the best thing you can do is to just ignore these links, and only click on those sent from people you trust.
Mining for cryptocurrency is the rage these days, but in order to mine efficiently, you will need a lot of hardware. This can be an expensive endeavor, which is why some unscrupulous attackers might attempt cryptojacking of your mobile device where they essentially hijack your phone and use its resources for mining.
This can lead to your phone feeling like it’s been slowed down or lagging because its resources are being used without your knowledge. While apps that hijack mobile devices for cryptocurrency mining purposes are rare, thanks to efforts from Apple and Google, they can still happen when you visit malicious websites.
Mobile ad fraud
There are various ways for developers to make money through their apps. They can charge a one-off fee, a subscription, or make it free but insert ads. Mobile ads are said to be a huge revenue generator and are estimated to make as much as $117 billion this year alone, according to eMarketer.
This is why mobile ad fraud exists where malware installed on a phone can help generate clicks to make it look like it’s coming from an actual human being. Since some mobile ads pay per click, this can have a negative impact on advertisers and advertising platforms who are paying for fraudulent clicks unknowingly.
But it can also have a negative impact on users as well, where the background activity of generating clicks could have affected the phone’s performance, similar to how cryptojacking can eat away at a phone’s resources.
Unfortunately, mobile threats will always continue to exist, just like how even today we still haven’t solved the issue with computer viruses. Thankfully though, a lot of companies do stay on top of vulnerabilities and exploits and tend to fix them in a timely manner, but it also doesn’t hurt for us to stay vigilant as well.
This includes making sure your downloads come from trusted sources, do not open emails from strangers, and do not click on links that you do not recognize.