Mobile security threats are increasing day by day. In 2014, almost 3.5 million pieces of malware were found by Kaspersky on over 1 million computers. By 2017, Kaspersky’s in-lab detection technology processing had crossed 360,000 malicious files a day. And 78% of files were malware programs, which means that more than 280,000 malware files were found a day, many targeting mobile devices.
Top seven Mobile Security Threats
1. Data Leakage
The source of accidental leakage of data is always mobile apps. Riskware” applications, for instance, pose a real problem for mobile users who grant extensive permissions, but do not always check security.” These are usually free applications that function as advertised in official app stores but often send personal and possibly corporate data to a remote server, mined by advertisers and cybercriminals.
Through malicious company-signed mobile apps, data leakage may also happen. The delivery code native to standard mobile phone operating systems such as iOS and Android is used by these mobile malware programs to transfer sensitive data through corporate networks without raising red flags.
Just grant apps the permissions they need to work appropriately to prevent these problems. And stay away from any applications that ask for more than required. Both Android and Apple iOS update in September 2019 added protocols to make users more informed of it and why mobile applications obtain location information from users.
2. Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks
When free wireless hot spots are readily available, no one wants to burn through their cellular details, but open Wi-Fi networks are typically unsecured. Three British lawmakers who agreed to be part of a free wireless security trial were easily hacked by qualified professionals, according to V3. Their social media, PayPal, and even their discussions about VoIP have been hacked. They are using free Wi-Fi sparingly on your mobile device to be secure. And never use it, such as banking or credit card records, to access sensitive or personal services.
3. Network Spoofing
Network spoofing is when hackers in high-traffic public places such as small hotels and coffee shops, libraries, and airports set up fake access points, links that look like Wi-Fi networks but are trapped. Cybercriminals offer common names like “Free hotel Wi-Fi” or “Coffee shop” to the access points to allow users to connect.
In some instances, attackers need users to access these free services to build an ‘account,’ complete with a password. Since many people use the same email and passwords for different services, hackers can compromise e-commerce and other users’ protected data. When connecting to any free Wi-Fi, in addition to using caution, never provide personal information. And always generate a unique password if you are asked to create a login for Wi-Fi or any program.
4, Phishing Attacks
Because mobile devices always remain powered-on, they are top of the most phishing attack line. According to CSO, mobile users are more sensitive because they also track their emails in real-time, open and read emails when sent. Users of mobile devices are also more vulnerable because email apps display less information to fit the smaller screen sizes. For instance, an email can only show the sender’s name even when opened unless you extend the header information bar. Don’t ever click on new email links. And if the matter is not urgent, wait until you’re at your monitor, then let the answer or action items remain.
Although many smartphone users worry about sending data streams back to malicious actors through malware, spyware is the main threat closer to home. In certain instances, users need not be concerned about malware from unknown attackers but rather spyware deployed by partners, coworkers, or employers to track their location and behaviour. Many of these apps, also known as stalker were, are designed to be loaded without their permission or knowledge on the target’s smartphone.
For this type of software, a robust antivirus and malware detection suite can use unique scanning methods that require slightly different processing than other malware because of how it gets onto your phone and its objective.
6. Broken Cryptography
Broken or weak cryptography can occur when app developers use weak encryption algorithms or fail to properly enforce strong encryption, according to Infosec Institute training materials. In the first case, developers can, despite their known vulnerabilities, use standard encryption algorithms to speed up the process of app creation. As a result, any motivated intruder can abuse the openness to break passwords and gain access.
In the second example, developers use highly secure algorithms but leave other “back doors” that restrict their efficacy. For instance, hackers might not be able to break passwords. Still, if developers go through code vulnerabilities that enable hackers to alter high-level app features, such as receiving or sending texts, they may not need passwords to trigger issues. Here, before applications are deployed, the onus is on developers and organizations to implement encryption standards.
7. Improper Session Handling
Many mobile apps use “tokens” to promote ease-of-access for mobile device purchases, enabling users to perform many acts without being asked to re-authenticate their identity. Apps create tokens to recognize and validate devices, much like passwords for users. With each access attempt or “session,” protected apps create new tokens which should remain confidential. Improper session management happens, according to The Manifest, when apps inadvertently exchange session tokens, such as with malicious actors, enabling them to impersonate legitimate users.
This chain of connections remains accessible after the user navigates away from the website or app. For obvious reasons, if you logged from your tablet into a company intranet site and failed to log out when you completed the assignment, by staying accessible, a cybercriminal will be able to explore the website and other linked sections of the network.
What Should We Do to Handle Mobile Security Threats?
Despite being a favoured target for hackers, mobile security is not prioritized compared to network and computer security, according to the Harvard Business Review (HBR). Even within the mobile environment, HBR found that security spending was chronically underfunded compared to the growth of mobile apps. When our reliance on mobile devices increases, the importance of knowledge and, thus, cybercriminal motivation. Be alert to new threats based on the following three main impact areas, in addition to the mobile security threats we have already discussed:
SMiShing: Hackers trick people into installing malware, clicking on suspicious links, or sharing personal information, much like phishing scams. Instead of email, a SMiShing attack is launched via text messages.
BYOD: As high-level access from personal mobile devices is provided to business customers, smartphones and tablets effectively substitute desktops for several business tasks. However, personal mobile devices do not offer the same degree of built-in security or power as the computers controlled by the company they are replacing.
The Internet of Things (IoT): With various variations of intelligent devices, from kitchen appliance thermostats and RFID chips, increasing rapidly, end-users or antivirus solutions will not always track them. For criminals who use them as entry points to the broader network, this allows IoT devices an appealing target.
How to Safeguard Against Mobile Security Threats?
Mobile security threats are both growing in number and expanding in nature. Users must consider common threat vectors and plan for the next generation of criminal attacks to protect data and devices. A robust internet security solution can provide broad coverage beyond desktops and laptops To secure mobile devices, IoT devices, and other internet access points. Besides, when you are not at home, your private network and Laptops need to be secured during use.