Is My Mobile Phone Vulnerable to Cybercrime?
In the past computers have been the most vulnerable to cybercrime, but with an increasing reliance on mobile phones to run our businesses and access our banking – with 24 million Brits using them to shop and 23 million Brits using them to bank - mobile devices have become a bigger target for cyber criminals.
One of the biggest risks, but commonly done, is using public wi-fi to access secured data. Public wi-fi spots tend to not be particularly secure and can leave you vulnerable to cyber attack. It can be easy to forget that your phone is at risk, but using it for sending secured information means that it is important to take mobile cybersecurity as seriously as computer cybersecurity.
Types of Mobile Attacks
Mobile security breaches really started happening in great numbers in 2011 when the value of the data able to be stolen started to increase. Attacks initially started in the form of software that would force phones to call premium rate numbers, costing the owner hundreds if not thousands of pounds. Android phones proved to be easier to attack so were the most vulnerable to malware, but it has become increasingly common for iOS devices to be affected too. Attacks also take the form of phishing which can involve spoof websites asking you to click on malicious links or emails claiming to be from known companies asking you to verify your security information.
How to Keep Your Mobile Safe
Android still remains more vulnerable to attack so opting for an Apple phone does reduce the risk of being the victim of mobile cybercrime. Also, being extra wary of malicious links, spoof websites and unusual attachments when checking emails or shopping online via mobile is a good start when it comes to protecting yourself. On top of this, being careful about which apps you are downloading and not joining unsecured public wi-fi should also help keep you protected. It is also worthwhile, if mobile phones are being used for your company, that all staff are trained in cybersecurity and know what to look out for.
Increasingly, many people are choosing to save their mobile data, personal information and images via The Cloud – a group of servers hosting information and running software away from where it is being used and accessed. Many devices using the same source to store their data may not sound particularly safe, but with developments in technology, this method has become increasingly secure. Security expert from C5 Capital Andre Pienaar, said in a recent interview, “…When we started investing in cloud-based companies at C5 many people saw The Cloud as a blocker for cyber security. Now we say that The Cloud is part of the solution.” (See the full interview here).
While cyber attacks on computers are still more common, it is always wise to be aware while using your mobile that you can be vulnerable to cybercrime. Keeping your phone’s software up-to-date, avoiding clicking on unknown links and not using public wi-fi while accessing secured data, you can keep the risks to a minimum and your data more secure.
Your mobile phone should have built-in defenses already, but it certainly wouldn't do any harm in buying some additional, more in-depth software for your phone to ensure everything is completely secure. Particularly if you're prone to downloading apps or apks from locations other than the Google or Apple store's, for example. While not always harmful by any means, apks are often used by hackers to infiltrate mobile phones and steal data, so it always pays to be vigilante and cautious of them.
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