What’s the thing that enables and stores the most important information you own and need on a daily basis?
What’s the only thing you’d really, really miss if you wouldn’t have it in your pocket for a whole day?
Odds are the answer is your mobile device. Also, odds are your mobile device is a pretty fancy smartphone too. Here’s why you should take care of it:
1. All your important data is there
Everything is there - from text messages to photos, emails, the (potentially embarrassing) browsing history, things you shared on Facebook, the places you checked in, not to mention all of your passwords, and contacts (including those of your ex-boss or your mother).
All this information is stored in your little device, saying an awful lot of things about you. The tricky part is that...
2. Mobile devices are vulnerable
Imagine how embarrassing it would be to have a text message sent to all of your contacts, an email to your entire address book and a direct message to all of your social network friends saying you really, really need them to send you some money because you got mugged or something. Your mother would probably have a mini-stroke, your ex would worry but manage to restrain from sending any money to the given web address, and probably some of your friends would be kind enough to check up on you.
That’s just a (slightly far-fetched) scenario of what might happen if your personal information is stolen from your mobile device. But don’t worry, having your phone send out high volume SMS messages to services that charge you extra has a way better chance of happening than that.
The chance of that happening exists because..well.. mobile devices are vulnerable, no matter the type of smartphone you own. Some operating systems are safer than others, but...
3. Getting infected is easy
The most common ways of infecting your phone is throughdirect download, SMS, MMS, e-mail and Bluetooth. Everybody uses it. Everybody clicks on links from their mobile device not knowing where that page will take them. Browsing the web from a mobile device without a security solution to warn you you’re about to enter an infected page is just as unsafe as navigating the web from your personal computer. Some of the users are lucky. Others get infected.
Another easy way of getting infected is by downloading legitimate-looking versions of popular games like Angry Birds, especially from 3rd party markets. That’s why reading the reviews of an app before installing it on your device or quickly researching the publisher of the app can save you a lot of trouble. Who has time for that? Well...
4. Lack of attention can cost you money
How? The most common mobile threats (targeting mainly Android users) are Spyware and SMS trojans.
Spyware usually goes after all your data (GPS info, contacts info, text messages, browsing history) and sends it to third-party apps and websites, who use it for advertising (aka spam) purposes.
Premium rate SMS Trojans, attached to various applications or games, are automatically installed and set up to send text messages to premium line numbers, after the infected app or game is downloaded.
So, giving a suspicious-looking app permissions like “send SMS or MMS messages on my behalf” or even permission to “modify/delete SD card contents” might seriously affect your bill, inbox and overall online experience. What’s worse is that apps like this can also open a backdoor, allowing more executable code to download to your phone without you even noticing or to drive traffic to malicious websites and include you in a pay-per-view or pay-per-click mechanism to generate income for them.
That old saying about how“it’s better to prevent than to cure” never gets old, does it?
So why don’t you do it? Truth is...
5. You can’t fight the bad guys on your own
Mobile malware attacks are up 155 percentacross ALL platforms in the last year.
The most vulnerable platform is Android, where malware increased by more than 4500% in a year (!) Though more secure than Android devices, iPhones and iPads are also very vulnerable to jailbreaking services that infect the device during the rooting process and just as vulnerable to web browsing attacks as any other device. Speaking of which, attacks to Blackberry and Symbian platforms also doubled since last year.
Mobile devices are hot. There’s probably a new wave of spam, scams and viruses out to get your money and data right now, as you’re reading this article.
The good news is you can do something about it.
More than staying alert, actually reading what permissions you give to an app and un-installing the app as soon as something feels fishy, what you CAN do is scan your phone for malware and use a professional mobile security solution.