Today’s workforce is more agile than ever before as technology transforms the way we do business. Thanks to Wi-Fi and mobile devices, employees are often encouraged to work from anywhere or bring their own devices into the office. But with this newfound flexibility comes new risks.
While many companies are making the move to mobile, so are cyber criminals. Below are a few reasons crafty hackers are specifically drawn to mobile devices and what you can do to insulate yourself against this growing threat.
Unprotected Wi-Fi: Remote employees love free Wi-Fi, but many are completely unaware of the risks of joining an unfamiliar connection. Cyber eavesdroppers can often steal information in transit over insecure Wi-Fi connections, even if the data is being sent to a secure network. Especially cunning hackers may even set up a phony hotspot to snare unsuspecting users and pilfer their most valuable data. Don’t conflate ‘work from anywhere’ with ‘work from any connection!’
If you want to connect to the internet safely and privately, update your Wi-Fi settings to block open sharing with other devices. Consider using a Virtual Private Network or VPN to turn your public connection into a personal one. Finally, turn off your Wi-Fi connection when you are not using it. This will reduce the time available for hackers to penetrate your firewall.
Trojan Horse Apps: Sad to say, many of the consumer apps available for download on the app store are downright dangerous — either because they are unguarded or malicious. Phony flashlight and calculator apps, for example, have been known to contain spyware which tracks a user’s keystrokes or phone calls, and can even be used to listen in on their conversations or sell personal information to advertisers.
Mobile app security depends on a keen eye and warry thumb. If an app doesn’t seem right, don’t click it. Don’t just trust the reviews, be on the lookout for grammatical or spelling errors, unnecessary permissions or apps which eat up a considerable amount for no discernable reason. Take notice of these red flags to better protect your mobile app security.
Losing Your Phone: It seems all too obvious, but one of the easiest ways to open yourself up to digital infiltration is to drop your phone in a public place. If you haven’t locked your device with a PIN or password, a single swipe is all it takes. Does your phone or tablet connect to your email, social media, banking and box services? Too bad, because a smart hacker will have no trouble stealing your identity, locking your social pages, vandalizing your finances and transferring your business data to god-knows-where.
Remember, protecting your phone means implementing safeguards before you lose it. Always lock your devices using a PIN, password or thumbprint. While it’s not perfect, it might be enough to discourage some thieves. Download device locator or remote wipe apps to keep your information from falling into the wrong hands.
Mobile Phishing & Spoofing: The majority of hackers prefer to use methods tried and true, and no attack is more common than phishing attacks. While phishing scams are still used to swipe personal account information and login credentials through spam emails and bogus sign-in pages, some cybercriminals have updated their techniques for the mobile age.
Beware of SMS or text messages containing web links from unknown sources. You could be putting your mobile app security at risk. The same can be said for social media sites as devious cyber crooks masquerade as a familiar user or company. If you are unsure about a link, avoid it or communicate your concerns to the sender in person to avoid catastrophe.
Protecting yourself from digital intrusion is not only important to your own security, but also for the safety of your business, your customers and your partners. Safeguard your mobile devices using the tips above and stay educated about up-and-coming threats. After all, the world of mobile security is still in hot competition with hackers and cybercriminals around the world.