Statistics show an overwhelming majority of Americans (81%) own a smartphone. While smartphones are undoubtedly convenient and useful in today’s high-tech world, they aren’t immune to cyber threats. Some hackers specifically target mobile devices while ignoring conventional desktop and laptop computers. Whether you use a smartphone for personal or work-related purposes, you should beware of the five following mobile cyber threats.
#1) Lost or Stolen Device
Because smartphones are so small, it’s not uncommon for consumers and business owners to lose them. If your smartphone is lost or stolen, it may fall into the wrong hands, resulting in the authorized access or use of your sensitive data. A nefarious individual, for instance, may look up your personal information, which he or she may sell on the black market to the highest bidder.
#2) Brute-Force Attacks
Smartphones are also susceptible to brute-force attacks. What is a brute-force attack exactly? This otherwise common cyber threat involves submitting many different combinations of usernames and passwords in an effort to access a victim’s network, system or account. To lower the risk of a brute-force attack, use a complex screen lock. When combined with other cybersecurity measures, a complex screen lock can safeguard your smartphone from brute-force attacks.
#3) Outdated OS
If your smartphone is running an outdated version of its operating system (OS), such as Android or iOS, you should update it as soon as possible. Most smartphones are designed to update their OS automatically. When Google or Apple releases a new version of their respective OS, smartphones will automatically connect to their servers to download the new version. With that said, automatic updates don’t always happen. And smartphones running an outdated OS may have one or more vulnerabilities that a hacker could exploit to access the device’s data.
Phishing is a common cyber threat affecting smartphones and other mobile devices. For example, you might receive an email or text message on your smartphone from what appears to be a legitimate person or business. The message may ask for sensitive information, such as your contact information or account logins. Of course, a hacker is behind the phishing message, and if you provide your sensitive information, he or she could use it for malicious purposes.
#5) Malicious Apps
Just because an app is published on Google Play or the App Store doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s safe to download. Earlier this year, Forbes reported that a malicious Android app was downloaded by over 40 million users. How do you know if an app is safe to download? In addition to reading user reviews, look up the developer’s name on Google.