Mobile devices often create opportunities. We are now able to access the web from the bus, buy stock options at the hairdresser, check emails while walking (carefully)…and yes, even in the plane. We are now always connected which creates opportunities and facilities. However, it is not possible to separate the benefits of staying wired from the threats derived by this continuous connection.
The truth is that before the cyber-security problems were limited in our office or at home. Now we carry threats with us on the bus, to the hairdresser, and on the plane. This is why the word security acquires nowadays, a wider and more important meaning.
Cyber-criminals seem to understand this concept very well. Mobile malware increased by 75% in 2014, and experts do not foresee a significant break to this trend for 2015 and 2016. Specific malware types, such as “ransomware” and “malvertising”, target mainly mobile devices and have increased significantly.
Thus, mobile security has become more important in the last years. How can we really be sure that our phone is a safe place? Below we report a couple of tips that can do a lot for the security of your device:
- Do not root/jailbreak: keep in mind that jailbreaking or rooting your device might expose it to many kinds of threats
- Install apps coming from trusted sources only: such as the official store of your OS
- Lock your screen: protect the access to your device with a PIN or a passphrase
- Use secured networks: when you connect to a Wi-Fi network make sure that it is a secure connection, as data travels in clear text on public unprotected networks, and can be intercepted and read
- Keep it up to date: Install security patches as soon as they are released
- Check vendor support: when choosing a mobile phone, verify how long the vendor will support it and will release new OS versions (e.g most vendors except Samsung or Google will only roll out one or two android versions).
However, the most important tip we can give does not come from technology: use your head! If you have the feeling that a link is dangerous, then do not tap on it, and if you think an app is not secure then do not install it.
Is your mobile always connected? You have to stay connected too!
Senior Security Analyst @ wizlynx group