With mobile phones becoming an integral part of our daily life and with many shifting from desktops to mobile devices as their main way of computing, cybercriminals are following along. Unfortunately, the threats posed by mobile malware are evolving and becoming more sophisticated than ever, making them one of the rising cyber threats at this time.
Cybercriminals are in constant search of sensitive data, and when such data is detected on a device, they will try their best to gain access through the device’s security flaws. Unfortunately, many do not educate themselves about the risks of having unsecure mobile devices resulting in being the perfect targets for these criminals. There have been multiple vulnerabilities and attacks made on mobile device companies such as, Apple and Android, which opened the eyes of some to how they put their full trust into these companies when at any moment their systems could be compromised. There are many types of malwares launched on mobiles and learning about them could help you prevent an attack. Now, let’s dive into the different types of malware.
3 Main Mobile Malware threats:
Mobile malware is a malicious malware that specifically targets mobile phones, smartwatches, and tablet operating systems with the goal to steal private data. This Malware is constantly adapting and evolving to gain access to mobile devices.
Let us see what threats your mobile devices might face:
– Trojan’s: A Trojan is a computer program that is meant to disrupt or steal personal data such as text messages or browsing history while staying unnoticed. A Trojan first portrays as if it is a legitimate application or file then it tries to trick you into downloading the malware on your device. And, with many people relying on their mobiles for their financials for instance, this led criminals to use trojans to steal information, these trojans are known as Banking trojans. In 2020, McAfee Mobile security has discovered that Banking Trojan activity increased by 141%, and the number continues to rise in 2021 (McAfee Mobile Threat Report 2021).
– Adware: or sometimes known as Madware, Mobile Adware, is a type of software designed to display intrusive advertisements on a user’s screen without their permission. It generally gets onto a phone by installing a script or software, and it often happens without the user’s knowledge. Most types of adware are designed to collect personal data from your phone with spyware to spam you with ads. This private data varies from passwords to your location and even your contact list. Adware is difficult to remove as it was designed to install itself unnoticed. It has been the most prevalent threat to Android smartphones this year, accounting for 45% of all attacks. This malware poses a threat not only to you but also to anyone on your contact list.
– Ransomware: Yes, even your mobile phones are exposed to ransomware attacks! This is a surprise for many due to the fact that users are not educated about this topic. Ransomware is a form of malware that encrypts a user’s data and locks it until the criminal is paid. It’s not nearly as common as it is on a desktop, but it surely can happen. Recently, people are being tricked into downloading mobile ransomware through social media, believing they are downloading a harmless file or essential software. Also, employees are at risk as they access sensitive information from their mobile devices when using corporate Wi-Fi, especially when it is unprotected. Sadly, more than 4.2 million Americans have had their phones infected with ransom malware (Kaspersky Security Bulletin 2020 Statistics). The number will only upsurge if society continues with its bad practices.
How can you Protect your Mobile Device?
– First and foremost, apps should only be downloaded from the official Google Play or App Store. You should pay close attention to the number of downloads and user reviews. This is important to know if the app is legit or not.
-When you download a new app and it requests for your camera permission or mic permission, only approve if they are essential because they can intercept your phone’s SMS messages, camera, or contacts once it receives approval. Unfortunately, many people rarely read through what access is being granted resulting in them being at risk of an attack.
– Allowing the program to run in the background is not recommended, you don’t know what they are doing. Be a step ahead.
– Do not use public Wi-Fi hotspots to access your mobile applications. Through them, criminals could gain access to your phone and breach data.
– On Android and iOS devices, install anti-virus software and keep your apps up to date. Apple recently has announced twice this year alone for its customers to hurry and update their devices due to an unpatched vulnerability. So, keep a lookout on social media for any updates.
Recently, there have been more news about vulnerabilities and attacks made on major companies that provide mobile and smart devices, hindering the trust of its customers. Unfortunately, many assume you only need to secure your PC or laptop, but mobile phones can easily become a hacker’s target. Anything connected to the internet is vulnerable, and major threat organizations are concentrating their efforts on mobile devices, launching intricate and sophisticated attacks, and they are even expanding their mobile inventory with attacks not seen before on mobile. End-users must be informed of the proper use of mobile devices as well as the security concerns they pose. Being educated on these risks is taking a step ahead of cybercriminals.
Make Smart choices for your Smart Mobile Devices!
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