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How to Protect Your Mobile From These 8 Threats

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5th March 2013

Computers are vulnerable to viruses and attacks, but what you probably don't realize is that your mobile phone is also vulnerable. These threats to smartphones are growing. So like your computer, you need to understand the threats to avoid them.

Phishing Attacks

no phishing

Image Via: Flickr by ivanpw

Just like emails, short messages can fool the recipient. Phishing messages contain requests for passwords, account information and credit card information. Before you instinctively hand out these valuable pieces of information from your smartphone, check to make sure these short messages are from a legitimate source. If you do fall for this particular scam, you will likely become the victim of identity theft.

Pay-for-Premium Call or SMS Threat

 

Unlike phishing, this threat is more sophisticated. This is because this activity might go undetected for a long time if the frequency of attack is too less. This is also one of the more profitable ways of malware attacks because the affected user might never know, and this can carry on undetected for a long time. The user might run huge bills because the phone automatically places a call or message to a pay-for-premium number. Since the malware makes sure your call log is erased, you never know until the day you see your phone bill that you have been attacked. But by then it may be too late.

Android phones are more vulnerable to such attacks because Android permissions are assigned one time and not dynamically as is the case with iOS. The only way to avoid this by deleting suspicious messages from unknown sources and by not clicking on URLs that you do not trust.

Trojan Downloads

Trojan horse

Image Via: Flickr by Darcy McCarty

'Trojan horses' can come from downloading information from questionable sources. Appearing in short messages or as fake applications, you click the Trojan link thinking that it is legitimate. Most times, you don't even realize that you have a Trojan until it is too late. Once it is on your system, your data becomes compromised. You can protect yourself in the same basic way as computers. Keep your anti-virus on your smartphone up to date and only download from reputable places.

War Texting

Cool Cars

Image Via: Flickr by w00kie

War texting is a way that thieves steal codes to your remotely activated devices such as your car. Gaining access to these codes gives thieves total access to your car. They can unlock it, start it and steal it in a matter of hours. They can also keep tabs on you just by knowing the car's location. While there is no foolproof way to stop car theft, you can reduce the threat by keeping an eye on your own identity.

 Fake QR Code Threats

http://farm3.staticflickr.com/2284/2211459923_67b9fc5fe2.jpg

 Image via Flickr by CoCreatr

 This is one of the relative newbies. What happens here is that a mobile user unknowingly scans a QR Code that originates from an unknown place, and that could lead to a malicious website that can automatically download an app or virus that could potentially damage the user’s phone. And QR Code scams are difficult to detect on a first glance for the unsuspecting user because the shortened links, as is the case mostly, do not reveal the final destination of the link. This is why users need to stick to QR codes originating only from known and trusted sources. When in doubt, don’t scan.

Location Tracking

Map

Image Via: Flickr by Eric Fischer

Your android tablet could double up as a GPS location device. This is handy if you are lost or looking for a specific place. Thieves also find this useful to track your location. Knowledge like this makes it easier for them to know exactly when you are not home or to avoid running into you after they have stolen your identity. Keeping your Smartphone clean of malware is the key to preventing this type of cyber-stalking. Another defense is to turn your Smartphone off when you aren't using it.

Rooting and Jailbreaking

http://farm4.staticflickr.com/3160/2385337088_4d1d4e7656.jpg

 Image via Flickr by Guccio

Noticed how some phones come dirt cheap on the Internet or shady mobile shops?. If you come across an iPhone or Android device that is offered at a much cheaper rate than the market rate, then most often these phones are either rooted or jailbroken. While the shady dealers might do this for a variety of reasons, such as clearing the phone technically of its contract with a mobile service provider, this opens a lot of dangerous possibilities for the buyers of such phones.

Jailbreaking is a term that is applied to the process of eliminating the limitations set by Apple on its iPhones or iPads. The same process when applied to Android devices, it is called rooting. By buying jailbroken or rooted phones, you are making your phone susceptible to virus or malware infections against which the manufacturers have protected it through certain preset limitations. The only way to avoid this by staying clear of rooted or jailbroken phones.

Data Theft

Blue Spy

Image Via: Flickr by Dan Diemer

You have probably heard of stories where embarrassing photos became public displays. All it takes is a little spyware and everything you have on your Smartphone becomes public knowledge. If you don't want your boss seeing your private photos or the details of that extra secret business meeting made public, then avoid letting anyone else use your Smartphone. Along with sticking to this rule, make sure to keep up with your anti-virus software and run regular scans.

Smartphones are very vulnerable to hacking, spyware, malware, and a number of other threats. Your Smartphone needs as much protection as your computer. You can become the victim identity theft without even accessing a computer. So, keep your protection up to date, don't let anyone else use your phone and turn it off when not in use.

Sources:

  1. http://www.biztechmagazine.com/sites/default/files/tiny-uploads/2012/infographics/smartphone-safety.jpeg
  2. http://www.technewsdaily.com/7026-text-message-hacks-car.html
  3. http://www.computerworld.com/s/article/9224788/Remote_access_tools_a_growing_threat_to_smartphones
  4. http://blogs.computerworld.com/18690/war_texting_sms_attack_to_steal_a_car_or_control_scada_systems
  5. http://www.atmmarketplace.com/blog/9361/4-mobile-phone-security-threats-you-need-to-know-about
  6. http://www.technewsdaily.com/7276-top-10-threats-smartphone.html

About the Author

Shaun Chatman is a well published author on many authority sites. He lives in Dunedin, FL, and spends his free time playing with his kids or his collection of gadgets.

 

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