Cybersecurity researchers uncovered an alarming mobile statistic. Over the last two years, mobile malware attacks have surged by 500%. This exponential increase is all the more alarming because many people aren’t yet adequately protecting their smartphones. If you use your smartphone for business, your company’s internal IT support or outsourced Managed IT Services provider can set up the Cybersecurity for you.

Mobile phones become more powerful every year, now performing many of the same functions as a computer – just on a much smaller screen, yet people tend to secure their computers better than they do their smartphones.

This absolutely needs to change. Over 60% of digital fraud now occurs through mobile devices. That makes them highly risky if proper safeguards aren’t followed.

Many of these are the same types of protections you have on your computer, so it really is time to start thinking about your smartphone as a mini-computer and keeping it just as secure.

How can you make your smartphone more secure?

Get a Mobile Anti-malware App

Just like your computer, your mobile phone also needs antivirus/anti-malware! Malware can and does infect smartphones and tablets. You need to ensure you have a reliable mobile anti-malware app installed.

Do NOT be taken in by free apps for this. Freebies are great when you’re talking about food, but not for security apps. Not only are free anti-malware apps less robust, but malware is often hidden inside them. Ironically, these apps are supposed to make you more secure. Buy a next-gen app that does the full job.

Do NOT Download Apps from Unknown Sources

This true for all devices, not just smartphones. Only download mobile apps from trusted sources. Do not download outside a main app store. Trusted app stores include places like:

Apple App Store

Google Play

The Microsoft Store

Amazon Appstore

If you are unfamiliar with the app developer, you should research them online to what, if any, buzz there is – about their apps and their reputation. Once you download a dangerous app to your phone, it can infect it with malware. That malware can remain behind even if you delete the app later.

Do NOT Assume Your Email on a Mobile Device is Safe

It’s handy to check email on a phone rather than PC, but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security about the safety of emails when viewed on a mobile device.

The same rules apply to your mobile device that apply to your computer – except mobile devices are typically less secure. Be just as wary about unexpected and/or unusual emails and scam emails masquerading as legitimate. There is no Nigerian Prince out there waiting to make you rich.

On a computer, it’s easy to hover over a link without clicking to see the real identity of the sender, but It’s more difficult to do on a smartphone. If you see something questionable and want to check the link, open the email on your PC where you can do that.

Beware of SMS Phishing (‘Smishing’)

Smishing is simply the texting version of email phishing, and it’s on the rise. In March of 2022, text spam outpaced robocalls, with unwanted text messages rising 30% - ten percent higher than robocalls. Many of those spam texts are smishing.

Personal example: Last week I received a text saying that my Netflix account had been suspended because of a billing problem, and a link to check it out was provided. I happened to be home at the time, so I just tuned in on my TV to Netflix – not suspended.

Smishing texts usually contain malicious links. A hacker can potentially breach your device if you click them. The message may also ask you to text back personal information. Do not EVER verify login credentials, account info or your Social Security Number (SSN)! No legitimate organization will ask you for that information in a text.

Be on the lookout for text messages that don’t quite make sense. For example, getting a shipping notification when you haven’t ordered anything or one from somebody who never sends you funny photos until now – with a link or attachment provided Also, beware of texts from unknown sources.

Smishing is a growing problem that most people aren’t yet aware of, so they often get caught in the trap.

Remove Old Apps You No Longer User

There are approximately 2.6 million apps that have not been updated in a year or more. Apps are often abandoned by the developer. This can leave security vulnerabilities on your device and hackers seek these out to exploit. If they aren’t addressed (removed), then they remain a danger.

Go through your device and remove old applications that you are no longer using. There is no reason to keep them around, potentially leaving your device at risk.

Just check the time of the last update. If it’s over a year, then you may want to consider replacing that app with something more current. App updates often include security-related items. It’s not good when a year or more goes by without the developer making any type of update to the app.

Keep Your Device Updated

This is another area that applies equally to your office network as well as your mobile devices. It is requisite that you keep your device's operating system updated. Are you using the current version of Android or iOS? Not installing updates can mean your phone has vulnerabilities, as updates typically include bolstered defenses to newer security threats. Hackers are looking for these vulnerabilities to breach and steal, scam, or wreak havoc.

Automate updates as possible. If you have a company with several devices, then it’s a good idea to include your phones on a Managed IT services plan.

Use a VPN When on Public Wi-Fi

The very best advice is to NOT to use Public Wi-Fi – it’s dangerous and easily hacked. Many people understand that but connect to it out of necessity anyway. You may worry about exceeding your data plan allotment. Maybe your mobile carrier reception is slow. Both are reasons people are willing to connect to unsecured public hot spots.

Use a VPN application to connect to public Wi-fi. There is less risk because the VPN stands between your device and the internet providing anonymity and encryption. They route your data through a secure server, which keeps it away from prying eyes that may be lurking on that public Wi-Fi waiting to copy your passwords or account information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What happens if you click on a smishing text?

A:  The two most common consequences are:

1) The link takes you to a fake website – a copy of the site you think sent you the text. There, they try to get you to enter your information so they can steal it.

2) Clicking the link unleashes a cyber-attack such as spyware, which allows hackers to scan your device for information such as account numbers and passwords, or Ransomware, which locks your device and encrypts your data until you pay a ransom in cryptocurrency.

Q: Which phones have high security?

A: According to Cashify, the top 5 most secure phones worldwide are:

1) Bittium Tough Mobile 2C
2) K-iPhone
3) Solarin From Sirin Labs
4) Purism Librem 5
5) Sirin Labs Finney U1

Note that none of the most popular phones are listed.

Q: What is VPN and why do I need it?

A:  Connecting to the office network from a remote location requires use of the internet. A VPN (Virtual Private Network) conceals your IP address (your identity) and encrypts the data sent back and forth as well as providing Cybersecurity and anonymity for any internet browsing. It basically routes your network activity through a remote VPN server through an IP Tunnel, a protected conduit that no unauthorized person can gain access to - even if you use public Wi-Fi – a prime source for hackers.

Q: Is a VPN expensive?

A: As with many types of subscriptions, the longer the term you accept, the lower the monthly cost will be. Typical month-to-month prices usually range between $5.00 to $12.00 per month, while 12, 24, or 36-month terms will come in much cheaper. Read the offer – the number of devices allowed on different plans also vary.

How you determine the best ‘bang for your buck’ depends on what you need and what type of customer you are – business or consumer. Ask your IT services department or offsite IT Support – maybe the IT HelpDesk - what they recommend.

How secure is your network?

As a reputable member of the IT Support Los Angeles community since 2002, IT Support LA offers a FREE, no-risk network and security assessment. It is a non-intrusive scan that allows us to deliver a comprehensive report that is yours to keep. No strings, and no obligation to ever use our Managed IT Services.

The best defense is the best Cybersecurity to protect your data from theft, and a top-notch Managed Services Provider (MSP) to ensure continued reliability and defenses against newly emerging threats.

With our 100% Money Back Guarantee in writing, we offer a risk-free way for prospective clients to try us out. Because we do not require a ‘hard’ contract, our clients can fire us at any time with 30 days’ notice. We have to be good.

Among the Managed IT services we provide:

IT HelpDesk Service
Onsite IT Support
Cloud migration and management
Email migration services
Backup and disaster recovery
VoIP phone systems
IT disposition and recycling
Office moves
White label services (IT to IT)

Need Mobile Security Solutions to Prevent a Data Breach?

Don’t wait until your phone is infected with malware to secure it properly. We can help you with automated solutions that protect your device, accounts, and data. Contact us to schedule a consultation.

IT Support LA an award-winning Managed Services Provider (MSP):
o  3 Years awarded Best IT by the Small Business Expo
o  Awarded 2nd best company of any type in the US by the Small Business Expo SB100
o  Awarded Best IT in California by Channel Futures
o  Winner of Best IT Support in Los Angeles 2021 by Channel Futures
o  Listed as one of the world’s Top 501 Managed Services Providers by CRN and in the top 250 in the   ‘Pioneer’ listing
o  4 years listed as one of the Top 501 MSPs in the World by Channel Futures
o  Globee 2021 Bronze Award winner for Chief Technology Officer of the Year
o  Globee 2022 Gold Award winner for Chief Technology Officer of the Year
o  Named one of 2022’s 50 ‘Best’ businesses in California by UpCity
o  Named Best of IT winner for 2021 by UpCity
o  Winner of Local Excellence Award for 2021 by UpCity
o  Named Best of Cloud Consulting winner for 2021 by UpCity
o  Certified as Top MSP and Cybersecurity Pro for 2021 by UpCity
o  Named Best IT Support in Los Angeles for 2021 by

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