“Florals for Spring, groundbreaking.” There are few movie quotes that continue to resonate as much as the line delivered by Meryl Streep’s character in the modern classic “The Devil Wears Prada”. The line sparked memes galore, poked fun at the showy culture surrounding fashion, and mocked the pressure our society places on keeping up with cool. Cybercriminals are all about keeping up with trends—no, not ski masks and gloves—but hacking the latest tech trends.
One of hackers’ favorite accessories is one of ours, too: the mobile device. These handy gadgets are always by our sides and in our (last season’s) handbags, so it’s only natural that they are one of the biggest targets for attacks. Partner our reliance on these devices with the general lack of education around mobile security, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble. We hear about threats on the news and in our feeds, but as they continue to evolve, it’s hard to keep up.
Here’s our list of the four mobile security trends you need to know about this season:
- Trust No App Who doesn’t love apps? There’s an app that tells you exactly how far away the bus is, where your kids are, or how to translate a menu. If you’re like me, you probably have dozens of apps on your devices, some of which haven’t been touched in months or even years. When it comes to mobile apps, they’re not all our friends. Among the good guys are plenty of bad guys, waiting for you to hit ‘download’ so that they can launch onto your device and go wild, including stealing your personal information, conducting financial transactions, and loading viruses. Nobody likes any of those things, so keep your device safe! Be picky with your downloads, delete unused apps, and always read the security agreements.
- Watch Out for Bad Guys Remember when you were a kid and you’d lose your shoe (just one) or a textbook? Mom always came to the rescue to help save the day. Today, there’s something even scarier than losing your shoe—your mobile device is your wallet, alarm clock, and email all wrapped into one. Everyone dreads that moment when you check your pockets and bag, looking for your device and come up empty. Aside from the money you spent on your device, it’s your data that you really lose. Device theft is a growing trend, one used to make extra cash and even to gain access to personal information. To keep your device safe if it lands in the wrong hands, lock it with a PIN, and always, always, back up your data.
- Connect to Wi-Fi with Caution Restaurants have signs in their windows that say “Free Wi-Fi” and malls and hotels automatically prompt you to log on. As we become increasingly connected, easy-to-access Wi-Fi is almost a guarantee. As tempting as it can be to join a network named “Free, Fast Internet,” on your mobile device, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi network leaves your device vulnerable to hackers, and everything held within it. Places like airports and convention centers often have public Wi-Fi which can be secured—score! But for every secure network, a knock off created by hackers is sure to follow. There are many steps you can take to surf the public web without asking to get hacked, including paying for private access and double-checking security. Here are some helpful tips.
- Throw It in the Cloud Just a few short years ago, “clouds” were those big, fluffy objects floating in the sky. Today, the network of servers that we refer to as the cloud is everywhere and made up of everything. We rely on the cloud to store our data, backup our contacts (don’t wait until you drop your phone to do this), and communicate with coworkers. As we’ve become increasingly reliant on the cloud’s benefits, do you ever stop and wonder if there’s a guard keeping your information safe in the cloud? A recent Intel Security survey found that, of cloud storage providers, “some 40 percent are failing to protect files.” If this number makes you nervous, it should. We trust the cloud with our most private details, from personal to professional, and a strong defense is needed to keep that data, and your device, safe. To do so, only use cloud providers which you trust, read their privacy agreement, and think before you share.
Taking the precautions listed above can help to keep your device protected, but comprehensive mobile security takes some of the load off. McAfee® Mobile Security, free for both Android and iOS, helps to protect your device, your data, and your privacy.