Importance of Security in Mobile Devices
The ever-evolving digital age affects cybersecurity more than most people realize. The rate of cybercrimes has grown exponentially and is consistent with the growth of technology. As technology expands and develops, so do the cybercrimes that are committed. Fortunately, as technology has advanced, so has the ability to seek out cybercrimes before they happen and protect people when they occur. But when it comes to mobile vendors, they focus more on releasing new technology with pace rather than providing secure devices for consumers. We are living in an age where our lives are very much dependant on mobile devices. The trend has moved from legacy mobile devices such as laptops to more portable mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets. With the advances in wireless communication technology billions of devices transmit data everyday over the unsecured network in plain text. In most cases users are not aware of malware present in our mobile devices. Many of us do not care about securing mobile devices as much as traditional PC devices that are already loaded up with latest anti-virus software.
The lack of awareness in mobile security has open doors for the ‘bad guys’ to get control of our mobile devices without our knowledge and according to a survey most mobile devices, once hacked, being monitored by hackers on daily basis. One of the most emerging cyber threat is ‘Ransomware’ where devices get infected with malware and unless a heavy ransom is paid, users often find their devices with all files encrypted.
When discussing mobile device security, Android operating system alone averages 5,768 malware attacks daily, according to CYREN’s Security Report for 2013. About 99% of the total malware created are designed to target Android devices due to their lack of security updates and patches. The vulnerabilities for iOS devices have also increased in the last two years with some indicating a rise of 83% in Apple’s iPad and iPhone.
The main target of the ‘bad guys’ is not to cause any damage to our devices but to steal valuable data and use the information to carry out fraudulent activity. My personal advice to lower the risk of mobile devices is to be mindful of vulnerabilities around us some even appear as legitimate such as ‘spear phishing’ where we are being target by a specific person or organisation. Never open a suspicious link on your mobile, clicking the link itself can trigger the scripted malware that attacker can then use to monitor your phone which later becomes a part of ‘botnet’. Botnets are a piece of script that opens a backdoors in an operating system and in cases where no security updates are available.
Finally, avoid using free public ‘Hot-spots’ as any information your devices transmits is visible to malicious insiders and you are risking your identity and security of the device. If you feel you battery is drained quickly consider ‘resetting your device’ as there is possibility that your device is infected with most common cryptocurrency malware on your device.
This malware gets injected into the operating system and search digital currencies like Bitcoin etc. This type of malware is found mostly in outdated Android devices. There is an ever greater need of educating our self, family and friends of the potential threats to our mobile devices.
Always make sure:
- Mobile is up-to-date with latest security updates.
- Always use screen lock.
- Install anti-virus software.
- Always keep GPS location services on.
- Avoid jailbreaking or using untrusted software.