Smartphones are an essential tool for navigating the modern world.
They collect and store an immense amount of data about our movements, conversations, and interactions, and we rely on them to socialise and work.
The intimate relationship we have these devices makes them an attractive target for attackers, however, as they hold a wealth of information.
Smartphone hacking is a very real threat, as are man-in-the-middle attacks and malware which can be used to steal your airtime and personal information.
Fortunately, there are ways to combat these threats and while many of them rely on users being more vigilant, the installation of third-party security software can help you stay safe.
We like to think of our smartphones as secure, but the reality is that Android devices can be easily compromised if the user downloads the wrong app.
In certain cases, such as with the Alcatel weather app issue, malware can be pre-installed on your smartphone before you buy it.
iPhones are not safe from data sniffing or security threats either, with users recently discovering that many iOS apps included software which allowed them to collect customer’s information without asking permission.
Downloading applications, especially through APK mirrors or third-party app stores, can be a real security risk, too.
Connecting to a malicious open Wi-Fi network can also result in your data traffic being intercepted and inspected by attackers without your knowledge.
Additionally, you may can start bleeding airtime due to a fraudulent WASP subscription which signed you up to a premium service without your consent.
Solutions and tips
When it comes to improving the security of your smartphone and the data stored within, security apps and software are only a piece of the puzzle.
The most important step to take is to practice data security and privacy awareness. Make sure that your smartphone has a password or biometric lock, for example.
Do not store passwords in plain text on your device’s notes application and do not save your bank PIN or other important numbers on your smartphone.
If you have sensitive information you would like to keep hidden on your device, lock it behind a dedicated application such as Samsung’s Secure Folder.
Practicing these rules will help you to avoid common mishaps, while security software can help you to remove malware if your device is already infected.
Symantec, the company which develops Norton security applications, states that smartphone malware can potentially steal your data or hold it hostage.
Often, these applications are not the first line of protection but the last, and it always helps to have an anti-malware tool installed on your device in case you stumble upon a malicious application.