Mobile two-way communication has become a necessity with the increased need to access data on the go. Most employees are forced to work from home and access the business network from their mobile devices. This results in an increased need to access corporate data from our smartphones or tablets. And this could pose mobile security threats.
Because of this, most businesses can’t ignore the need to implement various measures to mitigate mobile security threats.
What is Mobile Device Security?
Mobile security involves various measures to safeguard sensitive data stored on smartphones, laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices. Mobile security aims to prevent unauthorized access to vital info stored on portable devices connected to a business network.
Nowadays, various threats aim to steal private information like credit card information, bank account details, passwords, and contact lists. We expose ourselves to various mobile security threats due to lack of knowledge, ignorance, or complacency.
The first step to ensuring our mobile security is by learning about the various mobile security threats. Familiarizing ourselves with multiple security threats puts us in a position to know what’s at risk. It also protects us from mobile device security attacks.
That said, let’s take a look at some of the mobile device security attacks and various security measures.
Mobile Security Threats
1. Social Engineering
There are many types of mobile device security attacks where the attacker tries to obtain personal information illegally. However, social engineering involves psychological manipulation. It happens when an attacker first conducts surveillance on the victim to identify the vulnerabilities and weaknesses. The attacker collects background information about the victim to determine possible entry points and system weaknesses for a successful attack.
We may all fall victim to social engineering. The attacker may coerce us to give personal information without even realizing we’re doing it. Social engineering is an umbrella term for various malicious activities. With that, here are some mobile device security attacks that encompass social engineering.
This is one of the most common types of social engineering attacks.
Phishing intends to fraudulently obtain our info, such as names, home addresses, or SSN. The attacker may send an email that seems to come from a legitimate organization or business. This email contains a link to an unsecured website to steal sensitive information.
It may be hard to realize this at first. The attacker ensures the email and website look legit by having a company logo or website URL and HTML code. This way, we may be tricked into thinking the email is legit and entering our details in the link provided.
To protect ourselves from phishing, it’s imperative to determine any email source before clicking on any links. We should avoid clicking on suspicious links that force us to share sensitive information. Also, ensure that the website is secure. Secure websites will always have the HTTPS prefix to show that the connection is secure.
This attack is more similar to phishing, only that the attacker uses calls to gather our private details.
We may receive a call from someone who claims to be from a legit organization. The caller will try to convince the victim to give them their bank details or credit card information.
It is imperative to verify all incoming calls and call requests from suspicious numbers. Call the company’s main office using the provided number in the official directory and determine whether they have reached out.
Be very skeptical about callers asking to share login details or other personal info. Report such numbers to the relevant organization so they can take action.
The attacker tries to lure the victim using enticing offers or promises of free items and goods.
Attackers conduct a profile survey to know the right spot to steal personal information.
The attacker uses free online gift cards or rewards that pique our greed or excitement. This way, we may be forced to install an app to redeem the gift card.
This app turns out to be malware. The malware steals info such as emails, passwords, or credit card details stored on our devices.
Avoid deals that appear too good to be true. We may accidentally click on forms that lead us to insecure websites, and it’s important to avoid entering any private info on the site.
Modern browsers also have security features that block malicious sites or give warnings when accessing the site.
5. Wi-Fi Interference
Our information may not be as secure since we live in an age where we are constantly connected to various networks.
Our mobile devices are as protected or unsafe as the networks they are connected to. Attackers may set up their access points within our networks, thus resembling our network SSID. This way, victims may think the network is legit and connect their devices.
We can protect ourselves from these mobile security threats by:
- Protecting our Wi-Fi networks using robust passwords/authentication protocols.
- Using smart wireless controllers.
- Separating guest networks
- Using a VPN for public connections.
Never compromise security
for convenience, choose both!
6. Data Leakage
Data leakage refers to the unauthorized transmission of data from within an organization or our mobile devices to an external point or recipient and may be accidental or intentional. An employee may accidentally send an email containing sensitive information to the wrong recipient. Phishing may also be classified as a data leakage attack as the attacker may gain access to our mobile devices when one clicks on unsecured links.
To protect ourselves from data leakage, we should start by identifying the risks and classifying our data. It would be best to create a data recovery and backup plan if data gets lost or stolen. Lastly, our data should be encrypted using various protocols to make stolen data useless to the attacker.
7. Outdated Services
Most of our device operating systems go through regular system updates recommended by the manufacturer. Outdated systems expose us to various mobile security threats and attacks as attackers are constantly changing their techniques. Obsolete systems may have security vulnerabilities that grant hackers backdoor access to our devices.
It is vital to keep our devices updated and keep an eye out for subsequent security updates. Manufacturers roll out security patches as they continue to improve their systems, and it’s vital to install these updates for better protection against various threats.
8. Poor Password Management and Hygiene
Our passwords are the first line of defense against unauthorized system access. Sometimes we may get tired of remembering all our passwords for various systems that we may end up using one for all. We may also make the mistakes of recycling passwords and using weak passwords that we can easily remember, putting us and our devices at risk.
It’s imperative to set strong passwords that combine letters, numbers, symbols, and special characters for our systems. It is also essential to avoid reusing passwords by implementing new and different sites for every website, system, or mobile device.
9. Mobile Ad Fraud
Attackers exploit mobile advertising technology in an attempt to defraud advertisers and online publishers. The hacker may use techniques such as click spam, click injection, or spoofing to make quick illegal money from ads. Lack of conversion or sales performance may be an indication of ad fraud.
Poor on-site analytics and abnormally high CTR rates may also indicate ad fraud. We can mitigate ad fraud by using various tools that prevent illegal traffic from being credited to channels. This way, payments from ads are made to the proper accounts and increasing engagement.
10. Cryptojacking Attacks
Hackers may find their way into our mobile devices and install software used to steal cryptocurrency wallets or use our devices’ resources to mine cryptocurrency. Attackers hijack our devices to mine for crypto or steal from our crypto wallets, causing the machines to process slowly, increase processor usage, and overheat.
To mitigate crypto-jacking attacks, we need to:
- Keep an eye out for slow device performance
- Check if our devices are overheating
- Check for coding changes on sites
- Scan for malware
- Check for the presence of any parallel site to the crypto site
Physical Device Breaches
Sometimes we get too comfortable or careless and leave our devices unattended to and unlocked. We may also lose our mobile devices, and hackers may access sensitive information through our devices.
It would be best never to leave our devices unattended to or unlocked to mitigate such threats when at work or in public. Using strong passwords or biometrics will also prevent unauthorized access. Data encryption also helps to make our data unreadable to the hacker in case we lose our devices.
We should all create awareness of mobile security and implement new measures to mitigate mobile security threats. Robust mobile security starts with us and calls for us to avoid complacency at personal and organizational levels.
Teamstack provides security as a service tool for cloud identity and access management. Teamstack grants user-authentication protocols and techniques across desktop and mobile applications or browsers.