Mobile Security Trends

(I think this heading is okay, although you could possibly change it to Mobile Security Trends for 2017)

The days of regarding your mobile phone as being safer from hackers than you PC or laptop are well and truly over. Everyone, from smartphone users to app developers to businesses, needs to understand the mobile security threats that exist, and what they can do to mitigate them.

Well, there is a bit of doom and gloom for an opening paragraph. It isn’t all bad, of course. After all, mobile phones have changed the world. We use our phones for just about everything including communication, entertainment, and work.

Their use continues to grow, too. By 2017 there will be about 2.6 billion smartphone users. That is more than one-third of the world’s population.

With those billions of users comes the inevitable criminals who will try to exploit them for their own financial gain. Here are the main mobile security trends you should look out for.

1. Mobile Application Hacking

There has been a dramatic increase in app hacking incidents over the past number of years as hackers and cyber criminals focus more of their attention on mobile devices. The fact that users now increasingly use their phones for making purchases and banking is no coincidence.

This risk includes bugs like Stagefright, a vulnerability which affected over one billion Android users, leaving their phones open to attack.

One sector that many experts believe is a target of choice for cybercriminals is mobile payment services. There have been no significant breaches yet, but it is thought to be only a matter of time.

One way you can mitigate against this is to ensure you keep the operating system on your phone up to date. You should also update apps, and you should consider installing well-known security apps on your phone that can help prevent hacking.

2. Malicious Apps in the Stores

Cybercriminals do their best to get around the security procedures of the app stores. In fact, it is estimated the number of malicious and suspicious apps currently available for download numbers in the tens of millions.

Not all of these reside on the big stores like Apple’s App Store and the Google Play Store. In fact, they are generally quite good at weeding out malicious and harmful apps. While they are not perfect (i.e. there are still malicious apps on those stores), the safest option is only to use apps from the main stores.

3. Security On Poorly Built Apps

Anyone with the technical abilities and a few hundred dollars can build an app and upload it to the two main app stores. This ranges from multinational companies with large development and security budgets down to a teenager working on a computer in his parent’s house.

As a result, the security of apps on the app stores varies wildly. Many ask for permissions they don’t need, while others store sensitive data like banking information.

App developers have to take more responsibility for security to improve this situation, but there is an onus on users too. Users have to become pickier over the apps they download. They should learn more about security, particularly things like two-factor authentication. They should also learn more about app permissions so they know exactly what they are authorizing when they tap yes during an installation.

The big operating system and app store providers have a significant role to play in making mobile devices more secure, but they can’t do alone. We all have to get involved.