Thursday 09 January, 2014
Are you worried about viruses and malware attacking your mobile devices? You should be. Everybody knows the internet is full of icky stuff and that your PC can easily get infected if you visit the wrong site or download the wrong file. But not nearly enough people take the same precautions with their mobile devices.
A new report by security giant Kaspersky says that attacks against mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets saw a 2.8-fold increase in 2013. That should be enough to get you worried.
There were around 40,000 reported attacks in the year 2012. The report looked at the first 11 months of 2013 (January to November) and found a total of 120,000 attacks.
What’s even more alarming is that the monthly number of attacks rose sharply toward the end of the year. October alone saw 20,000 attacks and this number increased in November.
Here’s a little more bad news. Analysts from Kaspersky say that attacks will likely increase further next year. Cyber criminals are increasingly targeting mobile phones as consumers increasingly use them. Not only are there more attacks, but attacks are becoming more sophisticated.
The nature of the attacks is to get personal information, steal money, gain remote access to mobile devices and other illegal activities.
This was reported by the Japan Times in December 2013. Japan is a country with particularly heavy mobile use and where attacks are common.
How to Stay Safe
You should take the same precautions with your mobiles as you do with your PC. This includes installing a good anti-virus program as a first layer of defense.
Turn off features you don’t need and apps you don’t use. Each additional feature or app gives your mobile device more weaknesses that can potentially expose it to attacks. Check out the default settings and trim features you don’t use. When you’re no longer using an app, get rid of it.
Apps are especially dangerous because you download and install them on your mobile device. Some apps access personal information. You should only download apps from official stores. Never download an app from a website you don’t know.
Before downloading an app, do some research and read some reviews. Although there are few purely malicious apps that are designed just to gain access to your mobile for hackers, there are apps that don’t have terribly tight security. If you read reviews, you can learn more about these apps and make sure they’re safe.
If you have a smart phone, don’t jailbreak it. Jailbreaking a phone removes regulations so that you have total control over how you use it. But it also opens up your phone to more potential attacks.
Finally, practice good password protection. Choose strong passwords and lock your device when not in use. Don’t leave it lying around unprotected. You should also configure it so that you can lock it remotely and find it if stolen.