Anyone else out there get surprised by your smartphone screen report every week? You think to yourself, ‘surely I’m not spending THAT much time on my phone’. You are though… we all are!
As our phones have got more powerful and more ingrained in our lives, we’ve become more reliant on them for work, socializing, entertainment and so much more. It’s impossible to get by without them.
Which makes it logical that hackers and cybercriminals would start to target our mobile devices. They’ve been doing this in an increasingly frantic way, with mobile malware attacks surging by over 500% in 2022. A huge portion of digital fraud is now occurring through our phones.
The scariest thing about this is? We’re not doing much about it. Have you got anti-malware on your phone? Do you know anyone who does? Chances are high you don’t. This is particularly concerning when you think about the amount of personal data sitting on your phone. We go to great lengths to secure our desktops and laptops, why should our phones be any different?
Today at Smile IT we want to bring you some ideas on how to keep your phone safe. Implementing these tips is easy and could prove really important in protecting your data.
Securing your Mobile Device
Install Mobile Anti-malware
With the increase of malware attacks on mobile phones in the last year, we recommend installing an antivirus or anti-malware app on your phone. But not all of these apps are created equal so steer clear of the free ones, because, ironically, they are often built to contain malware.
We recommend only getting the apps from trusted sources such as the Google Play Store, the Apple App Store, the Microsoft Store or the Amazon Store. Before getting an app, research online whether the developer is legit and what their reputation is like.
Be Careful with Phone Email and Whatsapp
Please don’t assume that emails or Whatsapp messages coming through to your phone are safe. Be just as wary of suspicious looking links or emails coming from an unknown source. Basically, don’t click on anything that looks untrustworthy.
Even Jeff Bezos’s phone was compromised by a small piece of malware that came through Whatsapp. You can check out that story here.
Beware of ‘Smishing’ (SMS Phishing)
Unwanted marketing SMS’s happen to all of us, regularly. They’ve even outgrown robocalls from call centres. Unfortunately, most of those SMS’s are ‘Smishing’, which is basically the mobile version of phishing, where hackers try to get you to click on a text containing malicious links. Or they try to dupe you into sending them personal information by masquerading as a legitimate operation.
Be wary of unsolicited text messages that don’t seem to make sense, particularly from an unknown source. Shipping notifications when you haven’t ordered anything, messages from a bank asking for your details, or even a message from a payment provider asking for your login credentials are all examples of Smishing.
Delete Unused Apps
When an app is abandoned by its developer, it becomes vulnerable to hackers simply because its security credentials haven’t been kept up to date. Hackers will seek out apps that are no longer kept updated and try and exploit their vulnerabilities. If they’re sitting on your phone, you’re at risk of being hacked.
Have a look through your phone and remove any unused apps. If you’re not using it, why have it there taking up space? Also look at when all your apps were last updated. If it’s been 12 months or more, chances are it’s security is falling behind what’s currently required. We’d suggest replacing it with something more modern.
Update Your Phone
A lot of updates released by companies like Apple or Samsung for their phones are centred around security. If you don’t update, you’re not protected against the latest security threats. Always install the latest updates to keep the hackers out.
Protect Your Business Network
Put rules in place as to what devices can connect to your business network. With the growing risks associated with mobile phone viruses, disallowing team members from connecting their mobiles to the company internet is a good idea.
If you have multiple devices associated with your business, like company phones or laptops used remotely, include these under the care of your managed IT services provider to ensure heightened security.
Using Public Networks? Use a VPN
You’re actually playing a dangerous game when you’re using public wi-fi in an airport while you’re travelling or in someplace like a shopping centre. Hackers lurk on those public wi-fi networks waiting to jump on unsuspecting mobile phones that don’t have the necessary level of security.
We’d recommend always using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) on your phone when connecting to public wi-fi. A VPN routes your data through a secure server, so the hackers have no chance of gaining access to any of your details.
Don’t be a Victim of a Mobile Data Breach
When it comes to securing your phone from a data breach or hack, the best time to take action is now. We don’t want you to be sitting here in a week’s time, lamenting the loss of your personal contacts or login details to your bank.
Please take the measures we mentioned above as soon as possible. If you have any questions or want to talk to us about solutions that secure your devices, accounts and data, then please get in touch! Our friendly Smile IT team members are here to help.
When he’s not writing tech articles or turning IT startups into established and consistent managed service providers, Peter Drummond can be found kitesurfing on the Gold Coast or hanging out with his family!