In today’s world, smartphones are steadily taking the place of PCs and laptops, even when it comes to sharing information and making online purchases. With the increasing popularity of this new and convenient trend, cyber criminals have also shifted their focus from PCs and laptops to mobile devices such as smartphones.
This had led to a sudden spurt in the reported cases of security threats on mobile devices. The mobile world is now seeing many different forms of cyber crime, some of which can be extremely destructive.
This is why people around the world should be well-informed about the latest happenings in the world of cyber crime, particularly about those which threaten your mobile device.
Why Are Mobile Devices Easy Targets?
Given the frequency of attacks that have been launched on mobile devices, it is rather clear that cyber-criminals have shifted their focus from computers to mobile devices. This could be attributed to the fact that mobile devices are a rage in this day and age, when mobile computing offers people the chance to compute on the go.
The fact that people share a lot of personal information online has made their devices more vulnerable to such attacks. Online banking, online shopping, fraudulent app installations, and the like have also contributed immensely to the increasing number of security compromises on mobiles.
How Can Your Mobile’s Security Be Threatened?
From Trojan horses to botnets, ransomware, and viruses, mobile devices regularly face attacks from all these malicious enemies. Mobile users of today, such as yourself, must be updated with the latest on mobile security-breaches. This could help you stay away from anything suspicious, which might wreck havoc on your mobile device. Given below are the top 5 security threats that can affect mobile devices.
App Repackaging is by far one of the most common ways by which the security of your mobile device can be compromised. Many smartphones have fallen prey to this ingenious way, using which cyber criminals gain control of your device.
App repackaging involves supplementing a genuine application with multiple lines of malicious code. After this, the cyber criminals place the malicious application in a third-party marketplace, from where the app can be downloaded and installed on mobile devices.
Once the user installs the destructive app, it runs in the background, steadily gaining access to all your personal information. Such apps often gain control of the device and send SMS messages remotely as well. The Nexus 5 SMS vulnerability showed mobile users that such threats are for real.
Even those who jailbreak their mobile devices increase the chances of the device’s security being breached, as such a procedure directly affects the operating system of the device. This is why a well-secured app store is your best bet when it comes to avoiding such security hiccups.
Malware developers have left no stone unturned in their attempt to thwart the security-barriers of mobile devices. The use of malicious URLs is now commonplace, with developers taking advantage of the fact that mobile users don’t often take close note of the URLs in their mobile web browsers.
Users are then redirected to malicious websites, where their personal details such as usernames, passwords, bank details, and much more are often misused. This could have very severe and disastrous consequences.
As part of smishing, users are asked to click on a link, which seems rather unassuming, but is malicious in reality. Once you click on this link, a malicious download begins. Apart from initialising the download of a malicious app, you could also be redirected to a rogue website, as part of the cyber criminal’s smishing attack.
Either way, once the downloaded software is installed on your device, the cyber criminals are able to gain big chunks of money for every SMS that the infected device sends out.
Dangerous Flash Messages
The Nexus 5 SMS vulnerability issue has highlighted another major security threat that is steadily affecting the mobile world. As part of this new attack, users of mobile devices such as the Nexus 5 receive a large number of dangerous flash messages. These flash messages are displayed directly on the phone’s screen.
If the user isn’t quick enough to get rid of these messages soon, the phone becomes susceptible to an attack, which could have rather disastrous consequences. The Nexus 5 SMS vulnerability is also due to the fact that its users aren’t warned of incoming flash messages, which could cause an accumulation of such messages, till the time that the user finally checks them.
This could lead to the phone rebooting or its messaging app crashing. This could lead to the phone losing network connectivity, along with the likelihood of the device sending out multiple SMS texts of a certain kind.
Threat to the Mobile Wallet Technology
The practice of paying for your goods and services through mobile wallet is definitely a rage these days, with people finding it much more convenient to pay through these apps than to pay the conventional way.
Keeping this in mind, mobile wallet is an ideal target for hackers, especially since this technology is in a stage of infancy. This is why many mobile users are refraining from using mobile wallets, as they fear the consequences, should their phones get lost.
What Can You Do To Stay Safe?
After looking at some of the most prominent threats to mobile devices, it is clear that you must exercise caution while making use of these devices. Mobile users such as yourself must refrain from downloading apps from third-party marketplaces and must stick to getting apps only from authentic app stores instead.
You must also be very careful while using your banking details or other such personal information online, as this could easily be misused by cyber criminals. Exercising basic caution could save you a whole lot of trouble, keep your device running smoothly, and without any security breach.