Mobile devices are an essential part of our lives, but they also have led hackers to target smartphone users. A report by mobile cybersecurity firm Zimperium claims more than 10 million mobile devices, across 214 countries, were affected by mobile threats in 2021. The company says mobile malware is the most prevalent threat, hitting 25% of its global customer base. Their lab detected more than two million new mobile malware strains since January 1st, 2021.
A week ago, Samsung said hackers broke into its security system and accessed company data relating to its Galaxy cell phones. The data stolen included source code for the phone’s operation, but Samsung says personal information of consumers was spared. The sensitive data you store on your phone makes it a prime target for hackers. While you’re more likely to hear about public figures getting hit by cybercrimes, phone hacking can happen to all of us.
Mobile phishing on the rise and why you should care
Phishing attacks assume someone else’s opens in a new windowidentity to “phish” out personal data from unsuspecting targets. Zimperium says last year there were 50% more mobile-specific phishing websites. In addition, these sites are also more advanced. Nearly 60% use the HTTPS protocol, making it much more difficult for users to identify legitimate sites from fake.
“In two short years, our work environment became way more complex. Distributed and hybrid workforces, ever-connected devices, high speed 5G connectivity, and increased critical data access from remote locations have spread enterprises worldwide,” said Shridhar Mittal, Zimperium’s CEO. “This level of mobile connectivity will remain the expectation for workers, customers, and enterprises for decades to come, but today’s cybersecurity was not built to support these environments – and attackers know it.”
How to tell if hackers got to your phone
It’s not always easy to tell if your phone has been hacked. Most phone hacks go under the radar, but there are a few signs to look for:
- Your phone is unusually warm to the touch
- Your phone switches itself off randomly
- Apps frequently open by themselves
You notice something you don’t recognize on your phone such as an app you didn’t download or a purchase you didn’t make.
- Your phone’s performance suddenly slows down and battery life is reduced (malware can significantly drain your phone’s power).
- Pop-ups appear on your screen (typically indicate spyware or malware on your device).
What steps can you take to keep your phone safe?
Keep your OS and apps updated (and remove old apps). We can understand concerns about not wanting to download a new software update. It’s always frustrating when updates bring unwanted changes to the interface. But we’d take this over a hacked phone any day.
Change your password every 6-12 months, as well as any time you hear about a data breach for a service you use.
Get a VPN – virtual private network. We’ve all been there. You’re at a coffee shop or in an airport, and you desperately need to use public WiFi to save your phone’s data plan or get a better connection. Rather than reduce the security on your phone, get a VPN. It’s easier and less expensive than you might think. ExpressVPN, for example, is $6.67/month for 1-yr plan + 3 months free.
Download an antivirus. This is primarily for Android users. If you use an Android device, put one of the best Android antivirus apps on it to protect it from corrupted apps and other kinds of malware. The best Android antivirus apps offer not only excellent malware detection and prevention. Some of the best Android antivirus apps will back up your contacts and other data, track your phone or tablet via GPS, snap a picture of a phone thief with the device’s camera and even use your Wear OS smartwatch to locate your phone.
Apple built iOS to be as secure as possible. All apps are checked before they’re allowed in the Apple Store so there’s almost zero chance of it containing a virus. But In the end, everything is hackable. ClickAway mobile technicians and data recovery specialists are happy to ensure your phone is as safe as possible. Contact us for a free basic diagnostic.