During the first few months of 2022, cybersecurity researchers discovered that mobile malware attacks had risen by 500% . This is concerning not only because of the scale, but because it shows that many people still aren’t protecting their smartphones.
Over the years, mobile phones have become more powerful, and they can now perform many of the same functions as a laptop or PC. Despite this, many people don’t protect their smartphones in the same way they protect their computers.
Over 60% of digital fraud now occurs through mobile devices, which means they carry a lot of risk if they’re not properly protected. Many of the ways you can protect your smartphone are the same as the methods you would use for your computer.
Use Mobile Anti-Malware
Mobile phones need anti-virus and anti-malware too. Malware can, and does, infect mobile phones. You need to ensure you have a reliable anti-malware app installed.
Don’t Download Apps from Unknown Sources
Only download apps from trusted app stores such as:
- Apple App Store
- Google Play
- Microsoft Store
- Amazon Appstore
You should only use app stores that are pre-installed on your device. In many cases trying to install an additional app store (for example, trying to install Google Play on an iPhone) will void your devices warranty.
When downloading from your devices app store, you should research developers and read app reviews to make sure they have a good reputation. Downloading a dangerous app can result in your device being infected with malware that can remain even if you uninstall the app.
Don’t Assume Your Emails Are Safe
Many people prefer to check emails on their phones because it is more convenient. People also have a false sense of security when it comes to the safety of emails on their mobile phones.
You should be just as wary about unexpected and scam emails on your phone when viewing them on your phone as you would from your laptop or desktop PC.
Beware of SMS Phishing – “Smishing”
In March 2022, text spam become more prevalent than robocalls, with smishing text messages rising 30% in Q1 last year.
These texts usually contain malicious links which cybercriminals can use to breach your device is you open them. Some messages may also ask you to reply with personal information.
Often when you receive these messages, they won’t have any context – shipping notifications that require you to log in and confirm your address, despite you not having ordered anything, or messages that appear to be from PayPal or Apple suggesting your payment accounts have been suspended and asking you to tap the link and enter your log in information to solve this issue.
It’s important to note that legitimate shipping text messages, or account updates will never ask you to provide personal information. You should never tap links you receive in text messages. Instead open a browser to go to the official website of the company the text alleges it is from.
Phishing is a growing concern and it is one that many people are not aware of and often get caught out by.
Remove Apps You No Longer Use
Around 2.6 million apps available on marketplaces for download haven’t had an update in at least 12 months. This can often mean the app has been abandoned by the developers, who have probably just moved on to something new. This can lead to vulnerabilities on your device, as security issues that may arise are not being found and updated. These are the types of vulnerabilities that cybercriminals are looking to exploit.
Go through your device and remove any apps you are no longer using. You should also check when your apps last received a new update. If it’s been over 12 months it’s time to switch to a more current app.
Keep Your Device Up To Date
As well as updating your apps, you also need to make sure your device operating system is also kept up to date. Much like a desktop PC or laptop operating system, not installing updates on your phone leaves vulnerabilities on your device that cybercriminals can exploit.
Most devices will automatically update overnight, however if you have turned this function off it’s important to make sure you regularly check for updates.
Use A VPN On Public Wi-Fi
Using public wi-fi is risky, and most people are now aware of that, but many people still connect to it anyway.
The safest way to connect to public wi-fi is to do so via a VPN. VPN applications create a barrier between your device and the internet, which keeps your data safe from any prying eyes that could be spying on a public wi-fi network.