The Top Security Threats to Smartphones



What are the top threats to smartphones in 2018?  There are many of them, and we will be examining them in detail over several blog posts.  We begin with Data Leakage and Unsecured Wi-Fi Hotspots.

 

1. Data Leakage:

This is not a direct attack by a Cyber attacker per se but is a flaw in a mobile app itself.  Other than communicating with one another, we use our smartphone extensively to download mobile apps.  These are small software packages which can be downloaded from the Apple Store, Google Play or other app provider.

 

The top threat when downloading apps for smartphones is what is known as “Riskware.”  These are mobile apps are free to download, and usually have been advertised on a mobile ad.  What the customer does not know is that these kinds of mobile apps have not been tested for any kind of security.  Apple and Google usually scrutinize every mobile app they receive from software developers before they are uploaded onto their respective stores.

 

Since these free apps have not been tested, they often contain malicious code which makes its way into the smartphone of the customer. From there, the cyber attacker can get to all the stuff needed to launch an Identity theft attack.

 

2. Unsecured Wi-Fi Hotspots:

When we initially purchase our Smartphone, we get a certain amount of data in our plan.  This means that we have an assigned number of gigabits of data we can use to access the internet before we must pay overage charges. The average consumer consumes about 12 Gigabytes per month.

 

For most, our smartphone is our most prized possessions, second in line from is the data plan that we have for it. Data is like the fuel that drives our Smartphone consumption, and wherever we are, we always want to to conserve the amount of data used so that we don’t go over and pay extra.

 

As a result, whenever we can, we always try to make use of free data whenever and wherever it is possible. This will lead us to connect in a public place like Starbuck’s or Panera Bread.  These places provide what is known as a “Wi-Fi Hotspot.”

 

The cyber attacker is fully aware of this approach in human thinking, which is a huge vulnerability. This is where they try to capture the actual transmission of information and data from your Smartphone to the free data “Hotspot” at the public location.  Believe it or not, this line of communication is not secure by any means, so it is very easy for the Cyber attacker to capture your passwords and financial account information.  These are also known as “Man in The Middle Attacks,” because the cyber attacker is literally in between the line of unsecured communications between your smartphone, and the public Wi-Fi Hotspot.

 

 

A future blog will continue to examine the top threats to Smartphones, focusing on Network Spoofing and Phishing Emails. 

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