Your phone doesn’t leave your side—you use it to navigate, stay in touch with your friends and network, order your next meal and pay your bills. According to PC Magazine, by 2020, global smartphone subscriptions will more than double to 6.1 billion, 70 percent of people will use smartphones, and 90 percent will be covered by mobile broadband networks. As our mobile phones are being incorporated into every aspect of life and used by nearly everyone, it is important that we are also aware of the rise in threats to mobile security.
Here is a look at the top 4 mobile security threats:
1. Terrorism threats with mobile
Terrorism attacks have been trending towards telegram and Redphone-type communication apps that use end-to-end encryption to avoid eavesdropping by military or law enforcement. In addition, there has been usage of apps that criminals are using to communicate with each other for a very temporary time period, making their communication hard to track. Terrorists will likely also leverage major online media services for secret communications via hidden data in videos — for example, special audio frequencies that cannot be heard/understood by humans but are translatable through specific programs.
2. Mobile payment services
This threat likely does not come as much of a surprise, but with continued growth in mobile payment services and apps, we may see services such as Apple Pay or Samsung Pay compromised in the next couple years. This will potentially happen through identification of vulnerabilities, leading to credit card information fraud, extortion, and unauthorized use. In addition, peer-to-peer mobile payment apps that use simple payment remittance processes will become more vulnerable to hackers attempting to transfer funds from users’ accounts to dummy accounts they can then access.
3. Mobile web browser-based hacks
Hacking through mobile browsers is one of the most efficient ways to compromise the entire phone. Exploiting browser vulnerabilities can enable the hacker to bypass its many system-level security measures. In many cases, webkit-based exploits will allow hackers to bypass a browser’s sandbox, or the security measures built into modern browsers.
4. Device hijacking or eavesdropping
Many smartphones include preloaded applications that are not validated by mobile security teams or allow customizable features, exposing them to remote device hijacking. Smartphone owners are often not practicing security habits with their device, often allowing their device to automatically access unsecured WiFi connections that don’t encrypt data communicated through the network. Another concern is the ability of a hacker to eavesdrop on conversations or view messages that a user sends or receives.
While mobile phones are making our lives easier, it is important that users are aware of the potential threats that can arise and taking security precautions when using their phones in public areas. Employees should be continued to be educated on the security issues that can arise through mobile usage to ensure that mobile devices are not becoming an open door for hackers into the organization’s systems.