Oh, the wonders of that supercomputer in your pocket. You can do almost anything from any place. Start your car from halfway around the globe. Manage your retirement account from the bathtub. Antagonize irate fowl. If you could travel back in time just 20 years to tell your younger self about all that would be possible some day from the palm of your hand, you wouldn’t believe it — particularly so if you were but a toddler back at the turn of the century. Nonetheless, with every feat of man comes a downside. For every industrial revolution, there has been labor exploitation. For every man on the moon, there has been a chimp sent up first that didn’t make it back. For every next-day delivery, there has been a billionaire spending his immense fortune on questionably shaped spaceships. So what is the downside of the smartphone?
In this article, we cover:
- The upside and downside of smartphones.
- Spoofing, phishing, and spyware attacks.
- How to curb your smartphone security risks.
With great power comes an immense amount of data responsibility. Hackers and fraudsters know that the more you live off your smartphone, the easier it is for them to get their claws on all your juicy data. So how do they do it?
They set up fake access points, aka network spoofing, to trick you into thinking you’re logging into public free internet. In reality, they will have you set up an account with email username and password as a means to see the credentials you may be using for your other accounts.
Of course, we are intimately familiar with the salacious practice of phone number spoofing, wherein the perpetrator calls your phone from a number that appears to be local, even down to the prefix (the first three numbers after the area code). They also use number spoofing to appear to be a legitimate entity, such as the IRS, the FBI, or your bank.
Another method often used to violate your smartphone security is phishing attacks. Because our phones allow us to check email in real time, we could easily be duped into giving up personal information while on the move. The more scattered your attention, the more willing you may be to believe a made-up story. Even if you’re too savvy to fall for it, there’s always your mother, your grandmother, or any of your other elders who might not be quite as hardened and cynical as you’ve become. How do you protect them?
Just as phishing attacks happen over electronic messages such as email, we also see it over phone lines, SMS (“smishing”), and voicemail (“vishing”). Once again, while phishing might seem like an obvious ploy to you, someone you know is vulnerable because they’re more likely to believe it because they’re more intimidated by the speed at which information comes at them. Or maybe the phishing attack is just plausible enough to be perceived as credible. And once they’ve got you creating accounts, sending credit card information, etc., they’ve already won.
Just like any other desktop or laptop computer, your smartphone is vulnerable to spyware and malware attacks. Spyware often tracks your whereabouts and activities without your consent. Mobile malware can infiltrate your device and glean bank login and password details, which it sends back to its server. More than 1.6 million malicious installation packages were found in Q3 2015, many of them Trojans. Think about all the “critical” OS updates you’re urgently instructed to install every few weeks, or the stories you hear about newly discovered loopholes in your smartphone’s operating system security. It’s a never-ending game of cat and mouse between hackers and smartphone developers.
How Do You Manage All the Smartphone Vulnerabilities Out There?
- Always use secure Wi-Fi. Be particularly vigilant in public spaces such as airports, restaurants, and malls.
- Practice skepticism. If an email, call, or ad offers a deal that’s too good to be true, it probably is. If someone purporting to be the IRS calls and immediately requests all of your personal information, pause for a moment. Tell them you’ll call them back at the institution’s main number.
- Update your smartphone OS. Many of those critical updates that seem light on sexy features are operating system vulnerabilities being patched up. Don’t hesitate to read the version notes, do a quick Google search to see if reputable news outlets are recommending the update, and then tap that install button.
- Download YouMail. All that phone number spoofing, phishing, smishing, and vishing can be managed with YouMail. Our caller ID is more powerful than what your carrier provides because it taps into our extensive database of millions of flagged numbers. Our patented technology and proprietary data increases privacy and security on your mobile device the moment you start using it. We are on the cutting edge of emerging call threats so that you don’t have to worry. Coupling our caller ID with our powerful call blocking technology makes for the most powerful robocall blocking in the world. We protect more than 350 million phone numbers from billions of robocalls.
Ready to start protecting your smartphone from the perils of the world? Get started with a free YouMail account today.