Common Mobile Device Security Threats

In this day and age, pretty much everyone has a mobile device.  It is extremely beneficial, then, to know how to avoid security threats with your device.

Everyone knows that smartphone usage is at an all-time high, but that comes with the responsibility of avoiding security threats.  It's quite simple: the more connected to the Internet you are, the more vulnerable you are to being hacked.  Like any other cybersecurity threat, mobile threats can include identity theft, spyware, and phishing scams.

Here are the most common mobile threats you may face and how to avoid them.

Avoiding Security Threats: Six Red Flags

Using Free WiFi

Connecting to a free WiFi network can be enticing. After all, it's in most public places where you might need it, and there's no monetary cost. However, for your security and privacy, this is one of the worst things you can do. It puts you at risk. Free WiFi networks are usually unsecured, which means they are highly vulnerable to cyberattacks.

With this in mind, only use free WiFi when it's absolutely necessary. And if you must use it, stay clear of your confidential accounts such as email and banking accounts.

Additional tip: Keep an eye out for "network spoofing," a practice when hackers set up lookalike WiFi networks in high-traffic public places. They name the networks "coffeeshop" or "AirportWiFi" to get people to connect and unknowingly hand over their data. Always check that the WiFi you are connecting to is legitimate.

Leaving Bluetooth On

Leaving your Bluetooth on when not in use makes your phone visible to anyone within roughly 100 feet of you. If a hacker connects to your phone via Bluetooth, they can infect your phone with a malware attack, access your personal information, or track your activities. Most people don't consider this when avoiding security threats, as Bluetooth has become such a part of our everyday lives. But while it serves many great purposes, others can take advantage of your Bluetooth in these ways.

To avoid this, simply turn your Bluetooth function off when in public and not in threats mobile device

Using Public Charging Ports

Using public charging ports can give hackers easy and direct access to your smartphone. The port that you plug your phone into can be easily hacked to steal the information off your device when it's plugged in.

Avoid this security threat and nightmare scenario by fully charging your phone every night or carrying a portable charger when out for long periods of time.

Downloading Questionable Apps

Mobile apps can be quite helpful and convenient, but they can also be a source of cyberattacks, either directly or indirectly. In some cases, cybercriminals build malicious apps to look exactly like a popular app and use it to steal your data. To avoid this, only download apps from official app stores.

However, even if you download legitimate apps from the official app store, you could still be at risk. This is because some apps send your personal data to remote servers easily hacked by cyber criminals. To mitigate this problem, be conscious of the permissions you give to your apps. Only give permissions that the app needs to function, and nothing more.

Opening And Reading Questionable Emails

Since we're always on our phones, we are at more of a risk for email phishing attacks. When we receive email notifications, we usually open and read emails that we think look important. However, email apps usually don't display the same amount of information that a computer screen displays, meaning we may miss suspicious signs.

With this in mind, never open unfamiliar email links, even from senders that may seem legitimate. If you're interested in the email, wait until you can view it on a computer to further inspect the email. Clicking phishing links potentially allows hackers to gain access to your accounts and steal sensitive information.

Giving Your Child Unsupervised Access To Your Phone

Children are easy targets for cyber attackers for many reasons. They are susceptible to clicking suspicious links and providing sensitive information to strangers.

It's a good idea to teach your child the basics of staying safe on the Internet. And to be cautious, always supervise your child when they are using your mobile device. Alternatively, look into installing software for parental control on your handheld devices. This can help limit accidental security breaches on your device

Avoiding Security Threats In The Age of 24/7 Connectivity

In a world where we're connected all the time, it is more important than ever to protect ourselves from cyberattacks. The above tips are a good start towards mobile security, but there's always more we can do to keep ourselves safe.

Effective solutions include device security systems such as VPNs or anti-virus software. For more information, read about the benefits of using a free vpn.