Mobile Malware Has Increased 500% – How To Protect Yourself?

Cybersecurity researchers have uncovered an alarming mobile statistic. In the first months of 2022, mobile malware attacks increased by 500%. This is alarming, both in terms of scale and because many people are yet to protect smartphones.

Mobile phones have been getting more and more powerful for years. They now have many of the same functions as a computer – only with a much smaller screen. Still, people tend to secure their computers better than their smartphones.

This is behaviour that needs to change. Over 60% of digital fraud today occurs via mobile devices. This makes them very risky if proper safety precautions aren’t followed.

Many of these are the same types of protections you have on your computer. It’s time to think of your smartphone as a mini computer and keep it just as secure.


Tips to Improve Your Smartphone’s Security

Install Mobile Anti-Malware to Your Device

Yes, your mobile phone needs antivirus/anti-malware too! Malware can and does infect smartphones and tablets. You need to make sure you have a reliable mobile anti-malware app installed.

And beware of those freebies. Freebies are great when it comes to food, but not safety apps. Malware is often hidden in free apps. Ironically, these apps are designed to make you more secure. Don’t download apps from unknown sources


Avoid Downloading Apps from Unknown Sources

Only download mobile apps from trusted sources. Don’t download outside a main app store. Trusted app stores include places like:

  • Apple App Store
  • Google Play
  • The Microsoft Store
  • Amazon Appstore

You should also research the app developer online. Make sure they have a good reputation. Once you download a dangerous app on your phone, it can infect it with malware. This malware can stay behind even if you later delete the app.


Be Careful with Each Email You Open

Many people prefer to check email on their phone rather than PC because of its convenience. But they have a false sense of security about email security when viewed on a mobile device.

You cannot assume that an email is secure just because you’re away from your computer. Likewise, be wary of unexpected emails and fraudulent emails pretending to be legitimate.

On a smartphone, it’s difficult to hover over a link without clicking on it. If you see something questionable and want to check the link, open the email on your PC where you can do so.


Look out for SMS Phishing (aka “Smishing”) 

In March 2022, text spam overtook automated calls. Unsolicited text messages increased by 30%, 10 percent higher than automated calls. Many of these spam texts are smishing.

Smishing is the text version of phishing. These texts usually contain harmful links. A hacker may potentially hurt your device if you click on it. The message may also ask you to send back personal information via SMS.

Watch out for text messages that don’t make sense. For example, receive a shipping notification if you haven’t ordered anything. Also, beware of texts from unknown sources. SMS phishing is a growing problem. It’s also one that most people aren’t yet aware of, so they often fall into its trap. 


Uninstall Old Apps You Do Not Use Any more

2.6 million apps haven’t received an update in a year or more. Apps are often abandoned by the developer. This can leave security holes on your device. Hackers look for such vulnerabilities in order to exploit them. If left unaddressed, they remain a danger.

Scan your device and remove old apps that you no longer use. There’s no reason to keep them around, potentially compromising your device.

Also look at the time of the last update. If it’s been over a year, you should consider replacing this app with something more recent. App updates often contain security-related elements. It’s not good if a year or more goes by without the developer making any kind of update to the app. Keep your device up to date


Keep Your Device Updated

Speaking of updates, you also need to keep your device’s operating system up to date. Are you using the latest version of Android or iOS? Not installing updates could mean that your phone has vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities allow hackers to breach your data.

Automate updates as much as possible. If you have a business with multiple devices, it’s a good idea to put your phones on a managed IT service plan. Use a VPN when you’re on a public WiFi network.


Turn a VPN On When You Use Public Wi-Fi

Public WiFi is dangerous. Most people understand this, but many still connect to it out of necessity. You might worry about exceeding your data plan quota. Or your mobile service provider’s reception may be slow. Both cases are reasons why people choose to connect to unsecured public hotspots.

You can connect to public WiFi with less risk if you use a VPN app. VPNs stand between your device and the internet. They route your data through a secure server. This keeps it away from prying eyes that might be lurking on that public Wi-Fi.


What to Do In Order To Prevent a Data Breach

Don’t wait until your phone is infected with malware to secure it properly. Oney IT team can help you with automated solutions that protect your device, accounts, and data. Contact Onyx IT today to schedule a consultation.

Article used with permission from The Technology Press.