Mobile Security Threats to Look out for in 2020

We’ve entered the roaring ‘20s and cybers threats to technological security have been stronger than ever before. They run abundant through your mobile hardware, hitting on weak links in defense and easily accessing your phone through the wide-reaching internet space.

Also known as wireless security, mobile security is the protection of smartphones, tablets, laptops and other portable computing devices from the threats and vulnerabilities associated with wireless computing and the networks these devices connect to.

With more businesses using smart devices to offer better user experience, it is crucial to know the security threats so you can timely prevent an attack.

How can one make sure they have a strong defense against such threats to security? Luckily, many of this hardware comes equipped with the first lines of defense to your security, such as:

In this blog, we’re breaking down the trending threats to mobile security in 2020. It is important to be aware and informed of what to look out for in order to stay protected. Let’s dive in.

Fake Networks

One thing almost anyone who owns a mobile device such as a tablet or cellphone has to watch out for is fake networks. Also known as network spoofing, this concept is when hackers set up fake access points that look like Wi-Fi networks to connect to. In reality, they are actually traps set up in high-traffic public locations such as coffee shops, malls, and airports to capture as many victims as possible.

These access points take on common names that cybercriminals come up with to blend in with the rest and entice you to connect, such as “Free Airport Wi-Fi” or “Coffeehouse.”

In some cases, attackers require users to create an “account” to access these free services, complete with a password. This means that you most likely will input an email and password combination that you use across several other services, like your Amazon account or Google login. With this information, hackers are then able to compromise your email, credit cards, address, and other sensitive information.

The bottom line? Proceed with caution when connecting to any free Wi-Fi and make sure you never input personal information unless it is on a secure website. Even then, if you are asked to create a login for Wi-Fi or another application, always be sure to create a unique password.

Phishing

Phishing can be defined as tricking users into disclosing confidential information via fraudulent or misleading e-mails and websites. The message is designed to appear legitimate, calling you by name, having contact information, branding, and more in order to deceive you into believing that the message is something important that they need.

Common phishing scams are a bank request or a message from the office which requires you to click to open a link or to download an attachment that allows the malware the access your mobile device.

Once your mobile device is accessed, hackers can retrieve information that is typically highly sensitive, such as passwords, addresses, files, and credit card information.

More and more small businesses are facing phishing attacks, because your sufficient business information is publicly available.

Malware and Spyware

Malware and spyware are two of the most common mobile security threats that have been around almost as long as the internet itself. Malware is short for malicious software and includes various malicious software, such as viruses, ransomware, and spyware. It typically consists of code developed by cyberattackers, designed to cause extensive damage to data and systems or to gain unauthorized access to a network.

On a hardware level, spyware, also known as stalkerware, is downloaded software that enables a user to obtain secret information about a user’s computer activities by transmitting data covertly from their hard drive.

Many mobile users worry about malware sending data streams back to cybercriminals. However, in many cases, it’s not malware from unknown attackers that users should be worried about, but rather spyware installed by spouses, coworkers or employers to keep track of their whereabouts and activity.

The spyware is downloaded in the form of apps that are downloaded on the victim’s device without their consent or knowledge. To protect yourself from such attacks on your mobile device, a complete antivirus and malware detection program should scan your device regularly.

Data Leakage

Data leakage refers to usually accidental sharing of private information, oftentimes without the user even knowing. This is especially prevalent on mobile devices, as software like Apple and Google are consistently collecting data in the background — but they ask for your permission to do so.

The difference with data leakage attacks is that the information is being shared without the user’s permission, usually via an application that is downloaded for free and performs as advertised. However, it is also sending personal—and potentially corporate—data to a remote server, where it is mined by advertisers, and sometimes, by cybercriminals.