Top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020

Top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020? Smartphones are part and parcel of our daily lives. They are a more convenient way of getting things done. The main concern here though is the outcome of this convenience. If it’s not secure then it pauses smartphone security threats, yet security is paramount in any device management strategy.

Smartphone use has not only become convenient for users but also for “attackers.” How individuals and companies use them is what brings in new risks. These devices store a lot of sensitive information which indeed has to be controlled to protect the user’s privacy.


Below are the top smartphone security threats to take note of in 2020.

Top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020

Data Breach

A Data Breachs is top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: Phone users often grant permission to apps without first checking on if they are secure, especially the risk ware apps. Examples of today’s most common risk ware apps are; Snaptube, EasySanner, VidMate, Who Unfriended me, GPS Speedometer, and many others. A great number of them can be downloaded from recognized play stores like Google play store. The unsuspecting phone user then proceeds to download what could be a malicious application that will end up gathering their data and sell it off to remote servers run by advertisers. In the worst cases, this data can land in the hands of criminals.

Similarly, data breach happens through hostile enterprise signed mobile applications. They employ the use of codes that aren’t known by operating systems like iOs and Android. With this strategy, they can stealthily transfer data across corporate networks without raising any dust.

There’s even data that finds its way in the wrong hands because of error. For example, transferring company files onto a public cloud storage service or sending an email to the wrong person. This kind of error is termed as “accidental disclosure”

This can be prevented by only granting permission to applications that require access to a specific phone feature to function effectively. For example, an application like Instagram may require access to the camera feature of the phone because it’s almost 90% a photography app. For it to function as intended this permission has to be granted. Makes sense? On the flip side though, why would a torch application require access to the phone storage? Think before granting access to certain applications because it will save you a lot of damages.

Recent updates for Android and Apple iOs have made it even easier. They give reasons as to why certain applications require the access they request for. They are well aware of malicious applications that collect other user’s data for their gains.

Companies can also employ data loss prevention tools (DLP). It’s a kind of software designed to prevent sensitive information from finding its way to the wrong people accidentally.

Unsecured Wi-Fi

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Unsecured Wi-Fi is a top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: With free Wi-Fi, who wants to eat away their mobile phone data? It’s certainly not a new thing for people to choose connecting to free Wi-Fi networks over their phone data. The only backdrop with this free internet is that it’s normally unsecured Wi-Fi. Multiple studies have shown that phone users that tapped into open Wi-Fi networks have had to deal with their accounts (social media accounts, passwords, credit card details) being tampered with.

This however this shouldn’t discourage or blind users from the benefits that come with accessing free Wi-Fi.

How to use free Wi-Fi: only use free Wi-Fi for minor reasons like browsing through the internet other than accessing personal social media sites, accessing emails, credit card details, and the likes. This is a sure way to benefit from open Wi-Fi networks and still keep personal data safe.

Network spoofing

Network spoofing is a top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: Network spoofing is when someone uses a device of a fake network to trick another user into thinking it’s legitimate or real. This strategy is commonly used by cybercriminals who give their network names like Free Hotel Wi-Fi, Airport Wi-Fi, Free Hotel Wi-Fi. The unsuspecting user will quickly trust the network and connect their device. Account creation is usually a requirement to gain access to these networks. In the event the device owner creates one, it’s a win-win situation because the cybercriminals can now save the passwords and attempt to hack not into one account but many of the user’s accounts. They take advantage of the fact that most people today use only one password for multiple accounts. This is an easy way for hackers to get away with people’s private information.

Prevent this from happening by refraining from providing personal information when using open Wi-Fi networks. For the cases where you’re asked to create an account, simply use a normal password that’s different from the unique one you always use.

Phishing Attacks

Phishing Attacks is a top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: Phishing is a fraudulent means of obtaining sensitive information such as credit card details, passwords, and user names by pretending to be a legitimate or real entity in electric communication. Their strategy is to trick an email owner into clicking on what could be a dangerous link.

According to a 2018 report by a security firm FireEye, 91% of most cybercrimes start with just an email. Most users never suspect because the attackers also monitor and real emails as they come and go in real-time. Another reason is that email applications are designed with minimal content that fits smaller screens like those of a smartphone.

However today it has gone far beyond the email strategy, they have extended to apps like Facebook messenger, WhatsApp, online games, and other social media sites. The more gullible people are most likely to click on just any link sent to their inbox because it looks real.

How to prevent this: when a new email comes in, either read it and incase it requires an immediate reply, do so. Do not reply to any other unfamiliar links that pop up claiming to be more urgent no matter how genuine they look.

Spyware

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Spyware is a top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: Applications do a great deal of damage by sending personal data to advertisers and maybe cybercriminals. Spyware, however, should top the list of your worries because they beat malicious applications at their game. Of course, it’s very essential to be aware of every “legitimate-looking” application downloaded, though spyware requires even more in-depth monitoring.

Spyware can be installed secretly by insecure/suspicious spouses, rival companies, workmates, friends, and others to keep track of all your activities. Examples of popular spyware are; mSpy, Highster mobile, Flexispy, Spyic, and many others. Most of them are undetectable no matter how hard you search for them through the device manager. What’s even worse is they can be downloaded onto the target device without their permission.

Can it be undone? Absolutely yes, though it’s not as easy as it may sound. A complete antivirus and malware detection suite can be used to detect such spy software. With them, the reason for installment and how the spyware got onto the device can be explained.

Broken cryptography

Broken cryptography is a top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: Broken cryptography comes about when app designers use weak encryption algorithms. Sometimes it’s because the company just failed to put in place strong encryptions. Most developers prefer to use encryptions that are common with the aim of quickening the app development process, yet they’re making it easy for hackers to do their job.

With such loose ends, an interested hacker can take advantage and break into the system gaining them full access to people’s personal information. In other cases, app developers do a great job by using highly secured algorithms but forget and leave some “back doors” open. Even though the hackers may not be able to access people’s passwords, they have an opportunity to mess with the app and even modify it to fit their malicious interests.

How to prevent this; app developers need to pass through required checks before releasing new apps for download. Issues such as level of encryption and forgotten open backdoors need to be checked and dealt with. Otherwise, they risk people’s data being manipulated.

Unprofessional session handling

Unprofessional session handling is a top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: Some applications like to use “tokens” to enable easier access to mobile transactions. Tokens allow users to carry out many actions without having to re-verify their identity.

Tokens work the same way passwords do. For added security, some apps give new tokens for every time a user has to log in. These tokens remain confidential and shouldn’t be shared with any other user. It’s in the rare but also possible cases where apps share session tokens. For example when a session remains open after the user has left the website. A cybercriminal can log in onto the website using your token and access your data.

One to avoid falling victim is by properly login out of websites after use.

Outdated devices

Outdated devices is a top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: Smartphones that are outdated generally pose many security threats. Their software could be outdated without any guarantee of it being updated anytime. Android phones are well known for this. Their manufacturers rarely keep their products u to date. Without this assurance, they leave their customers hanging and also a potential target for cybercriminals.

What can be done? This one is for smartphone companies to work on. They need to create a stronger system and also ensure to update them periodically.

Password maintenance

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Password maintenance is a top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: By this year 2020, you’d expect most phone users to know what password maintenance means. There’s still a whole lot of them using weak passwords while the rest don’t even care to change them from time to time. Weak and recycled passwords could be a gateway for attackers to access your device.

A recent survey carried out by Google revealed that close to 90% of phone users around the world use the same password for multiple accounts. The other half rely on a password manager to store their passwords in case they’ve forgotten. A smaller lot just doesn’t create strong passwords. A reason as to why they don’t see the need to rely on a password manager. They can remember their weak passwords off-head. In today’s corporate world, you’ll find co-workers sharing the same password for the company account. What happens when one of them changes a job? Does the company change it or does it stay? All this means that recycling passwords, using weak passwords are a potential threat to our devices. Anyone can guess a weak password and easily log themselves into a personal site.

What can be done? Always use strong passwords. Strong passwords are made up of characters, numbers, a combination of uppercase letters, and lower case plus symbols. It shouldn’t be a name, a place, or a birthdate. Those can be guessed by anyone. In case you’re the type who easily forgets their password, try making use of a password manager. It’s a much safer way for password storage compared to writing them down in a notebook.

Device theft

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Thief stealing a mobile phone from handbag of a woman on the street

Device theft is a top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: A lost device without a strong password is a jackpot for attackers. In 2016, a Ponemon study showed that 35% of professionals had no security measure put in place in case their phones got stolen. They neither had a pin or password enabled for the screen.

It’s never a wise idea to make assumptions or think your device won’t get stolen anytime soon. It can happen at the least expected time.

What can be done? Ensure to put in place protective measures other than waiting for when the device gets stolen or misplaced. Create either a strong password or pin. This will keep all data safe until at least it gets recovered.

Conclusion

Top Smartphone Security threats to be aware of in 2020: Smartphones face the most threats because they store a great amount of user’s data. In recent years, phone users have found them to be more convenient compared to computers and other devices.  With more and more people needing to use phones, it simply fuels cybercriminals into finding even better ways of hacking into the system. The value of personal data is on the rise with advertising companies and individuals needing it for personal gains. That’s why phone users have to be aware of the recent smartphone security threats if they’re to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. Ensure that all personal networks and devices are protected during use and when not in use.

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