Ransomware, malware, phishing, DDoS attacks, data breaches. No regular PC user likes the sound of these words. As some of the most common types of cyberattacks, they’ve cost businesses large and small a pretty penny over the last couple of years. But what about the average internet users and their habits?
If you’re browsing the internet on your smartphone, you’re not alone. By 2025, 72% of all internet users will forget how PC-based browsers look like. Smartphones are becoming the primary device for accessing online content. Security-wise, is this good or bad news?
Here’s everything you need to know about smartphone security threats:
What Are the Biggest Smartphone Cybersecurity Threats?
According to one study, the odds of your smartphone getting infected with malware are actually less than the odds of you being struck by lightning. It appears that common cybersecurity threats that PC users fear the most should not concern you in the slightest.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t mean that your smartphone is unreachable.
The following cyber threats are the most frequent and troubling in the smartphone realm:
A 2017 study conducted by Verizon found that weak passwords stolen from a mobile device were behind more than 80% of corporate data breaches. Over half of all internet users in the US don’t practice proper password hygiene.
A surprising number of manufacturers don’t keep their products up to date, even though this is the first thing IT security experts recommend to internet users. So, even if you are updating your mobile phone with every new patch, that may not be enough.
Many mobile internet users showcase a dangerous lack of patience. Instead of using mobile data or looking for a secure WiFi network, they are exposing their devices and data to the man-in-the-middle attacks by using public WiFi networks.
Data leakage is what happens probably every second time you download a new app and accept its Terms and Conditions without reading them first. Your private data may get leaked to third parties intentionally or not – in either case, the damage is the same.
According to the security firm FireEye, 91% of cybercrime starts with emails. Phishing is one of the dangers that PC and mobile users have in common. It encompasses a very wide range of email-based scams.
Mobile-based crypto-jacking is a relatively new threat that has been extremely difficult to contain since it first exploded back in 2017. Last year, unauthorized cryptocurrency mining was the third most widespread type of cybercrime, says Skybox Security.
Everyone’s lost their phone at least once in their life, at least for a short while. Security-wise, this shouldn’t be any reason to panic if you’re using your smartphone right. Which means, keeping your data protected by using a PIN code or biometric authentication.
How to Keep Your Smartphone Protected from Threats?
Set up strong separate passwords for different accounts, for starters.
Multiple studies indicate that mobile users are pretty lazy when it comes to this preventive measure, even though passwords are cybersecurity 101. Keep them over ten character longs and use a mix of letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, download a password manager app.
If you’re using a public WiFi, always have your VPN turned on. A Virtual private network will encrypt your data and make you invisible to anyone who attempts to interfere with the connection and steal your data. It may not be such a bad idea to use a VPN applications as NordVPN every time you’re making online payments, no matter where you’re making them from.
Download apps only from trusted sources. When you run a new app for the first time, take a moment to read the Terms and Conditions. If it looks shady and tries to avoid basic data privacy questions, delete it. Or at least don’t give this app access to your phone’s contacts, gallery, and other confidential data.
For the time being, mobile users seem to be safe from the most dangerous perils of unprotected internet browsing. But that doesn’t mean that you should kick back and relax. There are a lot of threats lurking from behind the corner, so make sure you’re avoiding them.