A few decades ago, the idea of carrying a powerful, internet- and GPS-connected computer in your pocket would have seemed like the stuff of science fiction. However, smartphones have now become so ubiquitous that it’s unusual if you don’t carry one. They offer incredible convenience as an all-in-one tool for communication, navigation, mobile banking, social networking, and entertainment, but this power is increasingly being leveraged against us by cybercriminals. Smartphone security threats such as malware apps, phishing attacks, and connection to unsecured WiFi networks can turn our most-used piece of tech into a serious problem.

Smartphones have many valuable everyday applications, but this power comes with inherent risks.

Since October is National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, this is a timely reminder that digital security isn’t only relevant to your desktop or laptop computers. It’s especially relevant to the computer that resides in your pocket.

The following infographic from Scalefusion MDM collects data from cybersecurity companies such as Kaspersky, McAfee, and Check Point to illustrate the growing trend of mobile security threats. Specifically, Check Point’s 2019 mid-year report says that there has been a 50% increase in mobile device cyberattacks compared to 2018. For an especially sobering illustration of the seriousness of the problem, refer to the company’s Live Cyber Threat Map, which tracks cyberattack victims and perpetrators in real-time.

A screenshot of the Live Cyber Threat Map, showing tens of millions of attacks detected each day.

Take a look at the Scalefusion infographic below for an overview of common mobile device threats, or click here to download the full-size version.

MDM means Mobile Device Management, a type of business-oriented software that allows an IT department to centrally manage employees’ mobile devices. MTD is Mobile Threat Defense, software specifically designed to enhance security on those devices. Unless you own a business or work in IT, you can skip the last third of this graphic, since it applies to enterprise-level software. However, the first two-thirds are very relevant to our awareness of individual device security.

We’ll close with some additional reading on the top 5 mobile security threats mentioned above:

  • Anubis banking trojan — able to “take screenshots, record audio, send, receive, and delete SMS messages, steal contact lists and account credentials” and more.
  • Gustuff Android banking trojan — “targets include known banks such as Bank of America, Bank of Scotland, J.P.Morgan, Wells Fargo, Capital One, TD Bank, and PNC Bank”
  • Triada Android malware — “extremely hard to detect” and “one of the most advanced mobile Trojans [Kaspersky’s] malware analysts have ever encountered”
  • Lotoor hacking tool — a family of malware offshoots that “exploit vulnerabilities in order to gain root privileges on compromised Android devices”
  • Hiddad malware — infects the Android system folder and installs hidden adware, generating revenue for the attackers

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