Using a mobile device opens you up to a number of vulnerabilities. Whether you’re connecting to a random Wi-Fi network or relying on your service provider’s 4G LTE, you’ll be at risk for having your data stolen. By taking a look at some of the causes of recent mobile data breaches, you can arm yourself with the knowledge you need to stay safe.
Using Unsecured Wi-Fi
Image via Flickr by superfem
Using an unsecured Wi-Fi network is probably the worst thing you can do for your data. It’s easy for hackers to tap into this network and view all the devices connected to it. If they narrow in on yours, they can easily grab your contacts, calendar information, and more. If you sign in to a cloud database, you’ll also be giving them access to this server, putting whatever information is on the cloud at risk.
Luckily, your phone should try to warn you if your network isn’t safe. For example, the iPhone has an alert that lets you know the server cannot be verified. If you see this, abandon the connection and find an alternative.
If you’re using a cloud application to access data, you might also want to think about installing a cloud access security broker (CASB). A CASB acts as a barrier between the user and the cloud server by monitoring all activity and immediately alerting the administrator if something seems amiss. If someone does try to hack your phone through a network, they’ll find encrypted data and a threat protection team ready to counterattack.
Downloading Unverified Apps
While both Apple and Google do a good job of filtering apps uploaded to their respective stores, it’s impossible for them to monitor every single one. Once a malicious app is on your operating system, it can see everything you are doing. In some cases, it might even act as ransomware by threatening to steal your information unless you pay a hefty sum. The average cost of a ransomware attack is$713,000, an unexpected cost that can bankrupt many small businesses.
To avoid these complications, never download an app from outside the app store. Additionally, check out reviews of an app before downloading and limit yourself to only the apps you need.
Choosing an Unsecured Mobile Provider
While you might automatically trust your mobile service provider, they aren’t all as secure as they make themselves out to be. For example, Three Mobile, one of the UK’s largest mobile service providers, recently had their databases hacked. Experts estimated that two-thirds of the 9 million customers had their personal information exposed, including phone numbers, names, dates of birth, and addresses.
While this kind of problem might be out of your hands, you can do your part by fully vetting your mobile service provider. Research their security policies, and make sure they are taking appropriate measures to protect you as a customer.
Certainly, these aren’t the only threats you’ll face on your phone. You also have to consider flaws in your phone’s operating system, as well as what happens if you lose your phone. However, these tips are a good place to get started with a more secure mobile device experience.