A cybersecurity blog post released by Varonis in March 2021 revealed the shocking truth: Because of the Covid-19 pandemic, a huge increase in breached data and hacked information was reported in workplaces, IoT devices, and mobile devices. In addition, work from home setups have paved the way for cyberattacks.
Recent security research also found that many companies have unsecured data and unsatisfactory practices when it comes to cybersecurity. Meanwhile, the pandemic also ushered in an increase in smartphone use, as individuals use their devices more frequently for work and play.
Some of the most devastating mobile cybersecurity threats were phishing scams, man-in-the-middle attacks, and malware attacks. Let’s dig deeper and find out why smartphone cybersecurity attacks have become more common. Also, let’s find out how to prevent mobile app hacking in this updated guide.
Why Mobile App Hackers Are Very Determined
Mobile app security crimes are increasing at an alarming rate, with hackers and cybercriminals becoming far more persistent as the use of mobile phones explodes. Here are some of the main reasons mobile app hackers have succeeded over the years.
Increase in Smartphone and App Use
There are 7.1 billion mobile phone users in 2021 according to Statista. This number is predicted to rise to 7.26 billion by next year and 7.49 million in 2025.
With billions of smartphones and other mobile devices in the hands of consumers, some users have two, three, or more mobile devices in their possessions, each containing their personal, financial, or business information.
Hackers use all these to their advantage. They see this as their “attack surface,” a way for them to access precious information. As the number of mobile device users increases, the attack surface increases as well.
Vulnerable Mobile Devices
Sometimes, we overlook mobile device protection. Unlike early mobile devices that are mainly used for calls and texts, modern devices keep personal, banking, and other sensitive information. Modern smartphones have apps that keep user information. Apps like social media apps, banking apps, email apps, and shopping apps are the most popular and are also the ones that place users at risk of cybersecurity crimes and hacks.
Unsecure Corporate Networks
Hackers attack mobile devices that belong to users who are part of corporate networks. Data gathered from this kind of user are business data and personal information which hackers use to target businesses, brands, organizations, groups, and government offices.
Also, the coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more people using their mobile devices for work. Hackers also see this as a good opportunity to crack company information and precious personal data. These data may be sold to third-party sites or ransomed to the user or the company.
Mobile hacking is a very lucrative activity. Hackers can steal your personal information such as your name, birthday, Social Security Number, and email address to apply for credit cards, loans, utilities, and others. Criminals can also take your health card details and pose as you to get medical benefits, get treatment, and buy medications.
Also, it can take a long time for a user to find out he’s been hacked. Most will only know once they receive their credit card statements with unknown purchases, poor credit reports, and loans made under their names.
An average smartphone user performs many sensitive tasks on their devices including shopping and online banking using apps that have widespread permissions. Some people use their smartphones to access dangerous sites like those related to gambling, pornography, and other illicit behavior.
Users with a poor sense of device security may find themselves victims of cyber attacks. They unkowingly access these sites and fall victim to various online threats.
Mobile Devices for Personal and Business Use
Still, according to the recent Wandera study, more than 70% of employees belonging to companies, groups, and organizations access their information from smartphones and tablets.
The challenge now lies in protecting company data not just in employee devices but also in company-issued smartphones and devices.
How to Protect Yourself from Cybersecurity Threats
Mobile cybersecurity attacks are greater, more dangerous than ever, and thus, all businesses, organizations, and groups must act fast. But the good news is, cybersecurity attacks are preventable. Apply these techniques whether you’re at home, in school, at work, anywhere.
Find out if you’re involved in a data security breach
Worried about data breach? Do you suspect you’re already a victim? You can visit haveibeenpwened.com, a site that can help you check password and account vulnerabilities.
Change your passwords
Your passwords may not be strong enough to protect your account. It’s best to test these out at howsecureismypassword.net. As a general rule, the longer a password is, the stronger it becomes. Create one with at least 12 characters, a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols will do just fine.
Never trust anyone
Almost everywhere you go online there will always be ways to get your information. This could be in the form of phishing sites, spam emails, and many more. Never open a suspicious email coming from an unknown sender. Never download any content from questionable sites.
Take efforts to secure your mobile device
Install mobile antivirus software to secure your smartphone or mobile device. Always disable Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections when not in use. To avoid installing malicious apps, set your phone to ask for a password before any app installation. Set up remote locking and data wiping features on your smartphone in case it gets lost.
Mobile apps are part of every aspect of our lives. Mobile app development shows no sign of slowing down with new and exciting apps emerging every day But along with mobile app use, app safety and security must always be a priority. Taking extra steps to secure your device and your web browsing activities can go a long way.
Pranjal Bora works as Head of Product Development at Digital Authority Partners.