This article originally appeared on Lunarline.com and is reprinted here with permission.
Mobile devices are everywhere – and so are mobile security issues.
The Pew Research Center says around 81% of Americans own a smartphone of some type. For many of us, these go-everywhere devices are within reach for just about every moment of the day. They keep us connected, allow us to capture moments we want to share, help us get things done on the go and more.
But for all of the benefits smartphones and even tablets provide, they also come with real cybersecurity risks.
Many mobile security threats are attached to apps downloaded from the likes of Apple’s App Store or the Google Play Store. Malicious apps include malware that steals sensitive information, Trojan horse applications that mimic legitimate programs and others. Security firm Risk IQ recently reported that such “blacklisted” applications have risen as a percentage of the total available apps available on the Play Store. Currently, they make up about 2% of total apps.
That might seem inconsequential. But consider the large number of programs on the Play Store. In all, RiskIQ found about 38,000 high-risk apps that have been flagged by at least one vendor as “suspect” or “malicious.”
Mobile device users may believe that any app on the App Store or Google Play Store is credible, just by virtue of being available for download there. Not so. Malicious apps can, and do, make it through.
One mobile security danger to look for is lookalike apps, which mimic popular apps with similar names and imagery. How-To Geek points out several examples, including a fake version of WhatsApp that earned 1 million downloads in 2017. Cybercriminals also posted fake versions of SwiftKey and VLC.
10 Mobile Security Tips
It’s not just imposter or Trojan horse apps you have to look out for, either. You have to be safe even with legitimate apps. That’s why we’re bringing you these 10 tips for keeping safe on mobile devices.
- Make sure all your app passwords follow best practices. Don’t reuse the same password more than once.
- Don’t give apps more permissions than they need. Make sure you review the permissions you’ve allowed in the app settings.
- Use a trustworthy virtual private network (VPN) on open networks.
- Stay skeptical about downloads, even from official application stores. Make sure the app you’re downloading is worthy of your trust.
- Use a mobile security app like Bitdefender to alert you to any known risks for a given app. (Just don’t rely on such apps to handle all of your security needs.)
- Use location sharing sparingly. Some apps will turn this on by default, so make sure to change the setting.
- Turn off Bluetooth when you aren’t connecting devices. This can leave you exposed to vulnerabilities.
- Use a secure unlock method such as a PIN on your device. Biometric scanning (e.g., facial recognition) has its upsides and is growing in use as a result. But if that kind of data is stolen – it’s essentially stolen forever. You can’t exactly update your fingerprint.
- If you are using your device on a corporate network, follow the organization’s privacy and security policies.
- Encrypt your storage, including SD cards. This can typically be done in your device’s settings.
Lunarline can’t keep you, or an organization’s employees from downloading bad apps. But we can help an organization train their people for mobile security best practices. For more information on the programs, courses, and services we provide, contact us online today.