If you use a smartphone, do you know if you’re safe against today’s 12 million malware infections? This number is steadily growing and your mobile device may be at risk. 

Your mobile phone stores large amounts of personal data that you don’t want to fall into the hands of hackers. This includes information like your bank account, credit card, or sensitive work documents. 

What do you do if your phone is exposed? Are you wondering, “How can I protect my mobile devices from malware?” 

There are easy steps to take so that your phone is safe from dangerous hackers. Here’s a complete guide on mobile phone security and the top threats to watch out for this year. 

Five Mobile Security Threats to Watch out For

Whether you just bought a new smartphone or have been sticking with your sturdy iPhone 5, your device is always in danger of a cyber attack. Here are the top five mobile security threats that you’ll want to watch out for this year. 

1. SMS Banking Malware

A hacker wanting access to your bank account is no new threat, but now they’re sending out SMS malware to get your two-factor authentication code. This means that even if you safeguard with a two-step process, hackers can still access your personal information and wreak havoc. 

In order to do the job, SMS banking malware will sometimes masquerade as familiar messaging apps that you trust. When the malware requests permission to read SMS, you’re likely to approve it because you think it’s something safe. 

2. Trojan Droppers

Mobile device attacks aren’t always obvious. A Trojan dropper is malware that looks like a helpful app but is actually designed to download malicious software onto your phone. They account for almost 97% of Android malware attacks

These are particularly hard to catch because a Trojan dropper can install its malware program and then delete itself off of your phone. When this happens, the malware can get buried deep into your phone’s software.  

3. Adware

The goal of adware is to earn revenue by forcing you to interact with pop-up ads. It’s usually delivered by an app that’s infected and will flood your phone with constant ads.

When the adware is well designed, the ads can pop up outside of the infected app. This means it can be hard to pinpoint where the malware is coming from. 

4. Miner Trojans

Miner Trojans are designed to take over your phone’s processor to mine crypto-currency at your expense. It’s gaining in popularity with today’s phones because they make a higher profit on updated phones. 

If your phone has been infiltrated by a miner Trojan, it will run much more slowly. When you notice this happening, it might be time to do an antivirus check. 

5. Riskware

Riskware consists of apps that perform exploitable practices even if the developer hadn’t intended to cause harm. Most riskware will try to handle in-app purchases that are supposed to process through official store service. If you notice an app using unofficial means of billing you for an in-app purchase, you might be at risk. 

Signs of a Malware Attack on Your Phone

Key signs of a malware attack on your mobile phone are if it starts to operate slowly or your battery drains for no reason. You might also notice spikes in your data usage from a virus running tasks in the background. 

You should also check your bank statements for any unusual charges made from your phone. This could be a sign of malware trying to make money from hijacking your device. 

Remember not to trust pop-ups with information unless you’re confident that it’s trustworthy. Malware is designed to trick you into allowing it access, so you need to stay aware of unusual app behavior. 

Top Mobile Phone Security Tips

It’s dangerously easy for a hacker to infiltrate your phone, and even the best smartphones can get exposed to attacks. Once it happens it can be hard to fix, so make sure you’re taking steps to safeguard your phone. 

What are the easiest ways to protect your phone from malware? Here are some top security tips to boost your mobile phone security. 

Update Your Operating System

If you’re wondering how to secure mobile devices, the easiest way to start is by checking on your phone’s operating system. Whether you use an iPhone or Android smartphone, it’s important to always update your device when a new operating system is available. This will ensure that you have the most protective system in place. 

Only Download Apps from Official App Stores

Over 200 billion apps were downloaded by smartphone users last year. Downloading apps from unofficial locations puts you at risk of exposing your device to malware.

When you only choose apps from official stores, there’s a higher likelihood that the app is safe. Official app stores like Apple’s check that the apps they host meet safety criteria. 

Be Careful While Using Public WiFi

When using public WiFi, make sure you don’t access private information like your bank account. If this happens, a hacker could intercept your phone’s communication and access information to cause harm. Instead, you should use 3G or VPN to protect your sensitive info.

Be Careful What You Click

Don’t trust every link or ad that pops up on your phone. Malware is designed to be sneaky and can hijack your phone just through a simple click. If you see a pop-up that wants access, make sure you read through the terms. If you get an email with a link, make sure it’s from a trusted source. 

Don’t Jailbreak or Root Your Device

Sometimes smartphone users will jailbreak their iPhones or root their Android phones to download paid apps for free. This might sound appealing, but it’s a very dangerous process that leaves your device exposed to malicious apps. When you jailbreak or root your phone, it’s no longer protected by Apple or Google. 

Keep Your Cellphone Safe

A cellphone is an expensive investment that you’ll want to safeguard against dangerous malware. Hackers are always coming up with new mobile phone security risks to target your private information. 

Make sure to follow these phone security tips to protect your iPhone or Android device. It can be hard to clean your device of malware and may cost you a lot if you don’t watch out for dangers. 

Want more tech security tips? Check out our guide on keeping your data safe online

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