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Cyber-Warfare: How Safe Are Our Mobile Devices from Online Threats?

Posted In Security, Smartphone reviews - By Techtiplib on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014 With No Comments »

The mobile phone. This piece of technology is possibly one of the most used and influential tools at our disposal. A staggering 96% of the world’s population have a mobile subscription.

Originally, they were simple tools used only to call people and send SMS messages. Today, they do so much more. They have become computers in their right. Hence the name ‘smartphone.’ Currently, 1 in every 5 people own a smartphone.

Here are few more interesting stats about this technological behemoth:

  • 72 percent of people within the UK now have smartphones.
  • By the end of 2013, it’s estimated that there will be 2 smartphones for every 9 people.
  • 84% of owners use their smartphones for internet browsing on a daily basis.
  • Singapore has the highest smartphone penetration, with 54%

It’s an exciting time to be a smartphone user. However, the flip side is that your smartphone makes you the preferred target to malicious hackers. In 2011, only 4% of users protected their device from online security threats. Today, that number has increased somewhat but it’s still only a small fraction of smartphones protected from malware, viruses, and other malicious software. What is quite worrying is a third of owners don’t use passwords either.

Now combine that with fact that the cumulative total of threat alerts (mobile and desktop) is steadily increasing year-on-year.

Now combine that with fact that the cumulative total of threat alerts (mobile and desktop) is steadily increasing year-on-year

Mobile Risk

So how is your mobile at risk from threats? Well, it’s an oft stated phrase that the old ways are the best ways, and spam is still one of the biggest causes of security breaches on mobile devices. This is mainly due to the fact access to spam is 24/7 now. Cisco have presented their findings in a 2014 Security Report and stated:

 it’s an oft stated phrase that the old ways are the best ways, and spam is still one of the biggest causes of security breaches on mobile devices.

Here it is in graph form:

 looking at the most common global spam message themes, it’s concerning that every single one can done via mobile device faster and more conveniently for the majority of people.

Less spam is always good news. However, looking at the most common global spam message themes, it’s concerning that every single one can done via mobile device faster and more conveniently for the majority of people.

Cyber4

OS Problems

Right now, mobile malware issues account for 1.2% of all online threats over 2013. This doesn’t seem like a lot, but Cisco state emphatically that “mobile malware is clearly an emerging – and logical – area of exploitation for malware developers.”

So if you have a smartphone the question now is which platform do you use? If you prefer Apple products, then you’re much less at risk from security breaches.

Android users. Well, for threat encounters involving Android devices, you account for 71% of the total. Common methods include phishing for information, likejacking, social engineering ploys and force redirects to other websites that originally planned.

Common methods include phishing for information, likejacking, social engineering ploys and force redirects to other websites that originally planned.

The proliferation of advanced mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets and their relationship with near constant access to the web (via hardline and wi-fi) only gives more hackers more opportunities to infiltrate systems.

Safeguarding your mobile device and protecting your data is the first defence against cyber-warfare. A war with an almost limitless battlefield. 

[Source: Cisco.com]

This post was written by Jake Messer on behalf of HANDD, providing Data Security and Managed File Transfer solutions.

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