Mobile Phishing—The #1 Threat to Mobile in 2020

Published on: 23 June 2020
  • By ALCiT Team
Mobile Phishing—The #1 Threat to Mobile in 2020
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The term ‘phishing’ has become rather common, hasn’t it? And we’re not talking about discussions between IT experts. After years of reports, studies & information sharing, consumers know the term and more people know to watch out for possible scams lurking in their inboxes.

But there’s bad news heading your way. In the same way tech keeps on evolving, cyber criminals change tactics too. And now, they’ve moved from trying to reach you via your email, to focusing on your mobile device. 

Keep reading to stay educated on the topic so you don’t accidentally fall prey to phishing scams in a whole different way. 


How is Mobile Phishing Possible? 

Your mobile phone may not all of a sudden show a blue screen, but that doesn’t mean all is well. In the background, many different features can lead to criminals accessing your information:
-    Apps can leak data
-    Phishing malware can access your operating system via SMS
-    Your phone can come under attack when you connect to an unsecure network in the constant search for free Wi-Fi
-    You may access web content which gives cyber criminals access to your data

Your phone is not as secure as you think and it’s time to take action. At the very least you need to start protecting your devices and be more cautious. 


How Mobile Phishing is Even More Effective than Before

The messages about mobile phishing aren’t as common as those regarding email hacking. But it’s bound to change soon because the new threat is even more effective than its predecessor. 


Mobile Popularity

Firstly, the popularity of mobile is an attractive feature for criminals. With over 7 billion mobile devices on earth, this gives the cyber world ample options for launching attacks. They can also access devices easier than you think through encryption. And once they’re in—undetected at first—you have little control over what they’re able to access on your phone or tablet. 


Smart Disguises

There are also multiple ways to disguise a link so it can obtain access to your phone. It’s not only opening up an email on your mobile device that you should be concerned about. With people performing multiple tasks, all via their phones, it creates endless possibilities for hackers. From apps to websites to simple text messaging, the tools can all be used as Trojan horses. 



Another reason why it’s such a looming threat for business is because employees are often allowed to use personal devices for work. These devices may have less security features than company owned items. Hackers will launch attacks on consumers, simply to get to company information, knowing that a tablet may be less secure than someone’s email inbox. 


Using Big Brands to Get to You

A primary characteristic you need to become more conscious of is that you can’t trust the brands you’re so used to hearing about. Hackers know how much trust consumers place in the brands they adore. Now, these hackers hide behind the names, using them in phishing campaigns because they know you’re bound to open a message from them or join a local restaurant’s WiFi network, without thinking twice. 

This strategy of impersonating a brand to infect someone’s device, has led to many well-known names being inadvertently used in phishing campaigns. This includes:
-    Apple
-    Twitter
-    Office 365
-    Airbnb
-    Amazon

Yes, all those brands you trust! Because so many people use these brands, consumers rarely become suspicious of them. And when your guard is down, criminals attack.

The next time you think of opening their information on your phone, make sure it’s really them. 



The Stats You Don’t Really Want to Know About

Perhaps a few statistics will drive home the message.
-    Did you know in 2019 over 55% of companies became victims of mobile phishing?
-    With mobile phishing, almost 90% of actions have nothing to do with email.
-    Data breaches are mostly related to phishing instances.

We don’t write these numbers as a threat, but to make the idea of mobile phishing a reality. Consumers and businesses MUST start to guard against it in the same manner that email phishing is:
-    Workers must be educated
-    Keeping your devices’ operating systems up to date is a non-negotiable
-    Cyber security for any device on a business network is essential

Especially in a work setup, understand that a secure network is as important as a protected device. Your device may connect to a network elsewhere and then it must be able to withstand the phishing attacks. 

Criminals find new ways to abuse the system and now you HAVE to consider the safety of your mobile devices too.

So, how up to date with the tech news are you? If individuals and businesses don’t stay vigilant, they may keep on being at the mercy of cyber-attacks. 

For advice on staying secure in an ever-evolving environment, don’t hesitate to contact the experts.

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