Is Your Mobile Device Vulnerable to Cyber Attacks?

Posted by Stefanie Kober Tue, 11 Feb 2014 10:58:00 GMT

From viruses to Trojan houses, malware to ransom ware, malicious software garners a great deal of attention and anxiety from IT security teams and users. In addition, with its widespread popularity, mobile devices have become a primary target for malicious software. However, what mobile devices are most vulnerable to cyber attacks?

Used by hundreds of millions of people worldwide, Android holds the title as the world’s most widely used operating system for mobile devices based on market and usage statistics. However, according to a document by U.S. Department of Homeland Security and FBI, based on its market share and open share architecture, Android’s large popularity also makes it a primary target for malware attacks. And that number is only expanding—in the first quarter of 2013, more than 275,000 various malware attacks were targeted at Android users; according to security firm Juniper Networks. Furthermore, according to Trend Micro, as of October 2013, there are over one million malicious applications in the Android marketplace.

Android is not the only mobile device at risk as iPhones also have vulnerabilities. This past July at the IT security conference, Black Hat USA, three researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology demonstrated how a malicious charger could compromise an iPhone. In their presentation, the researchers replaced a legitimate version of the iPhone Facebook app with a malicious one that they secretly loaded onto the phone in approximately one minute via an illegitimate charger.

As smartphones, iPhone and Androids alike, become the most widely used mobile devices, how can users protect themselves from malware and malicious attacks?

Avoid Open Networks

Many mobile devices are automatically set to connect to an open network, however, when looking for a WiFi hotspot, it is important to check whether it is secure or insecure as hackers can easily target your device. A certain way to avoid an open network attack is to utilize a solution like HOBLink Mobile that allows users to safely and securely connect to data and resources via a mobile device.

Install a Security Solution

Installing a mobile device security manager can reduce your device’s vulnerability to malicious apps and malware. For example, an article by Forbes suggests five high quality security solutions made specifically for mobile devices. In addition to security solutions, ensuring that you are only downloading from official app stores can also reduce your security risk.

Keep Your Device Up-To-Date

Old versions of software may have security problems that hackers can use to more easily gain access to your device’s data. The iPhone malicious charger vulnerability is a prime example. Once Apple became aware of this security risk, they developed an alert in the new iOS 7 that warns users whether they are connecting to an ordinary charger or a malicious one.

Readers, has your mobile device ever fallen victim to a cyber attack? Please share your stories in the comments below.

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