Malware are Taking Over Mobile Devices, Could Your Device Be Next?
Malware attacking desktop computers and laptops is commonly heard of, but did you know that mobile devices, such as tablets, mobile phones, and even smart watches, are just as susceptible to malware attacks? This type of malware, which is devised with the specific intent of infecting and harming mobile devices and their contents, is known as mobile malware. Security loopholes in the software technology and the operating system of the mobile device often act as the entry point for such malware. The risk of mobile malware has increased so much in recent times that it’s difficult to ignore the possibility that your mobile device could too become a victim of this malware.
How Serious are Mobile Malware Attacks?
According to a report by Kaspersky Lab on mobile malware evolution, there was a sharp increase in mobile malware attacks from 2017 to 2018. In the span of just one year, the number of attacks went from 66.4 million to 116.5 million.
This trend is a clear indication of what the scenario is likely to be in the year 2019. It wouldn’t be an exaggeration to assume that mobile malware attacks may continue to be a serious threat in 2019 as well. Those who are at risk include not just the mobile device consumers, but also organizations and enterprises. Today, the use of mobile devices has become quite prevalent at the workplace. Companies encourage their employees to work using mobile devices by implementing policies such as BYOD (Bring Your Own Device). A work environment where mobile devices are commonly used to transfer data, access business applications, perform daily tasks, and more can be severely affected if a malware manages to sneak into the environment via one of the devices. The mobile malware can then continue to spread through the environment attacking other devices too.
Needless to say, mobile device security is a must for any business where employees use mobile devices for work.
4 Common Types of Mobile Malware That You Need to Watch Out For
The findings of the Kaspersky Lab report also suggested that mobile malware attacks have increased not just in number, but also in their sophistication. The mobile malware attacks are diverse in nature. Here is an overview of some of the most common types of mobile malware:
Spyware is a kind of malware that installs itself on the device in the form of a program and then, without user’s knowledge, monitors and collects the sensitive data on the device. Important user information like location, credentials for various accounts, phone contacts, messages, OS version being used, web browsing history, etc. are illegally captured and shared with 3rd parties by the spyware. In fact, once the spyware has installed on your device, all your device data and activities are at the mercy of this spyware.
A Trojan hides by bundling itself with seemingly legit applications and files. When you install and/or execute these apps and files, the Trojan kicks into action, after which it can lead to all sorts of problems. Banker Trojan is one of the most notorious varieties of Trojan malware for mobile devices. Such a type of Trojan targets the banking related information of the user. Given that mobile banking has become so widespread today, it’s only natural for users to have banking mobile apps on their mobile devices and to use these apps to conduct their banking transactions. This is exactly what a Banker Trojan aims to take advantage of. The Trojan gets its hands on the user’s login details for their banking apps, and subsequently uses these details to get unfettered access to the user’s bank accounts.
A cryptojacking attack refers to attackers using the mobile device resources of an unsuspecting user for the purpose of cryptocurrency mining. Given how resource-intensive cryptocurrency mining is, the device user may face many inconveniences if a major portion of their limited mobile resources starts getting consumed in an activity which they know nothing about! A cryptojacking malware may infect your mobile device when you unwittingly download a malicious mobile app. The malware may also be delivered to you through spam SMS and emails.
A ransomware attacking your mobile device could prevent you from accessing either the device or the data stored on the device. The device or the data will be put on a lockdown via the mechanism of encryption. So, the only way for you to decrypt and regain access to your device and data would be to fulfill the ransom demand of the attacker.
How to Protect Your Mobile Devices from Mobile Malware?
Using mobile devices freely without the fear of malware attacks requires taking a number of precautionary measures. Businesses that heavily rely on the use of mobile devices at workplace need to ensure that mobile security is an important part of their overall cybersecurity strategy. They should discuss with their managed security services provider to figure out how to ensure advanced security for the mobile devices that are being used for work. Encryption of confidential data on the mobile devices can be a great step towards mobile security.
Training employees on safe mobile use practices is also important. Many of the mobile malware attacks happen because of the user downloading a mobile app that they shouldn’t have, using unsecured public networks for work purposes, or clicking on the wrong ads, links, emails, and websites. So, it’s necessary to educate employees on how they should be using their mobile devices for work.
Installation of anti-malware solutions on the mobile devices is also a good measure, so businesses should make it mandatory for their employees to install a comprehensive anti-malware software on their device. Employees should also be advised to keep their mobile operating systems up-to-date. With support from a reliable managed IT services provider and enthusiastic participation from employees, it is certainly possible for a business to reap the benefits of using mobile devices at workplace, in a risk-free manner.