Many people don’t have a very clear idea of what computer viruses and malware really are. Take many of the outspoken Apple fanboys, for instance.
There’s a common belief being passed throughout their ranks that states that Macs are totally immune to cyber attack. However, even Apple has grudgingly admitted that this just isn’t the case.
Trojans, viruses, and other malware are basically just computer programs like anything else. Sure, in the past fewer viruses were created to infect Mac computers, but that was simply because fewer people owned Mac computers, thus making them less of a target.
However, as more and more people have switched to Apple, the amount of Mac-compatible malware is increasing as well. The sad truth is if it’s a computer system and it has internet access, it’s in danger of infection.
Now, let’s take a look at mobile devices.
Similarly to Apple products, mobile devices enjoy a certain amount of anonymity when it comes to cyber threats. After all, they’ve only been available for a few years, and they haven’t become really popular until recently.
Naturally, cyber criminals have been focusing instead on conventional desktop and laptop computer systems for their attacks. However, as mobile smart devices become more ubiquitous, these same cyber criminals are going to begin to invest more time and effort into cracking them.
Unfortunately, many mobile smart devices are being left completely security free. This is especially dangerous considering that more and more people are using their smart devices for banking, business and for housing sensitive personal information.
Added together, these points become a rich and easily accessible target that might be too good for malicious hackers to pass up.
For one thing, mobile devices are much easier to misplace or have stolen than conventional computers. Nearly 5% of all smartphones are stolen or lost every year.
Many of these smart devices aren’t even password locked, which means that a criminal need only activate the device to gain access to any sensitive information contained therein.
This has led to a dramatic increase in theft of mobile devices. In fact, approximately 113 phones are lost or stolen every minute in the Unites States. But even if smart devices are kept safe in the rightful owners’ hands, they are still at risk.
Those who use Android are the most likely to experience hacking or infection as the open nature of Android’s apps allows for unverified third-party developers to distribute malicious applications, which means that applications can be written be anyone, and installed by anyone, without any sort of quality control taking place.
Many users who download new apps have no idea what specific systems or features will be accessed, which puts their personal information clearly at risk.
But even the more secure mobile devices are anything but attack-proof. Apple, for example, maintains that the iPhone OS is inherently secure from cyber threats due to it’s multiple levels of built-in security.
However, no security is perfect. And as the number of iPhone owners increases exponentially in the next few years, we’re going to see a more determined criminal element begin to focus their attention on the iPhone as well as any other mobile devices that are available.
So, are security precautions necessary? Absolutely. It’s imperative that mobile threat intelligence become a focus for all smart device manufacturers while the threat of mobile malware is still relatively low.
If we can pinpoint possible security weaknesses before the criminals do, then we won’t have to suffer the consequences of having to learn only from our mistakes.
Historically, companies have been slow to respond to cyber threats, able to only play a reactive role and wait for new attacks to be developed.
This need not be the case for mobile security, but in order to prevent future data loss and information corruption, both manufacturers and consumers need to pull their heads out of the sand and recognize that the era of the secure mobile device will soon come to an end.
Hopefully, antivirus firms and manufacturers will take an interest in mobile security threats before hackers and cyber criminals do.
Post contributed by Robert Cordray, a freelance writer and expert in business and marketing. With over 20 years of startup experience, Robert is now retired and hopes others can benefit from his writing.