Key reasons why hackers target mobile devices and how to stop them

Hackers target mobile phones due to the ease of access to information and data which all phones contain. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in an increase in instances of hacking as the use of online resources for conducting business increased multifold. As cloud-based software and applications spiralled with employees working remotely, companies were left unprepared due to the lack of adequate cybersecurity protection. In recent years, individuals, companies, organisations, and governments have been exposed to greater risk.

According to data published by Statista, 125 million cases of data breaches were reported in the fourth quarter of 2020. In the second quarter of 2022 the number has seen a steady decline with 52 million cases of data breaches (a 56% reduction from the previous quarter).

Passwords and two-factor authentication are increasingly stored on mobile phones. Getting a text message with a secure verification code while logging in makes you feel safe. It is possible, however, for hackers to gain access to your online accounts by taking control of your mobile phone.

One device can access your company's network

A business's weakest link might be the security of the mobile phones, and other devices connected to the internet, used by their employees. An attacker can gain access to the entire network of a company by breaking into just one unprotected mobile device (mobile phone, laptop, or tablet). Cybersecurity is critically important for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).

SMBs can be crippled severely by hacking as there could be instances of revenue loss, operational disruption, data asset compromises, and irreparable damage to customer relationships.

It is possible to prevent cyber-attacks by taking defensive measures. To begin, let's examine why hackers target mobile devices.

1. Access to passwords

The majority of users use the same password across all their mobile devices and applications, which makes hackers' jobs easy. They can easily access the user's laptop and then the corporate network if they figure out the password and get access to the mobile device. For intruders, mobile devices are an entryway to a world of opportunities. It is easy for attackers to perform nefarious acts on mobile phones since they are never turned off.

2. Access to company data

Mobile phones contain a large amount of personal as well as professional data. A mobile device used for corporate email or for accessing other work-related applications is a goldmine for hackers if it is compromised. On mobile devices, all emails and attachments reside in one folder, so hackers know exactly where to find data and download it.

3. Spy on your mobile

Your microphone or camera can also be turned on by cybercriminals when they gain control of your device. A hacker who accesses your device also has access to your contacts and your calendar, so they can plot just the right time to trigger the recording function. As an example, once a hacker compromises a CEO's phone, they can hear every word the CEO says while negotiating a deal.

4. Easy malware delivery

Mobile phones are easy to infect with malware if users visit unknown websites and play games on unsecured platforms, using their phones. A malicious program can steal personal information, install adware, or even force app downloads once it has entered the device.

5. Third-party software

The term 'third-party software' refers to software applications created by someone other than the manufacturer. There is a risk of infecting your device with malicious software when you download apps from these third-party stores. Hackers can access the sensitive information stored on your device with the help of this malware.

Mobile digital hygiene is a must in today’s times. Knowing how to secure mobile devices - both personal and work devices - is extremely essential. Here are a few pointers that will help keep hackers at bay.

Organisations should:

  • Block an external threat (malware, viruses, etc.) with a perimeter protection firewall, enabling the administrator to maintain control over the company's network, systems, and data.
  • Provide secure access to specific company apps and data without exposing the entire network for those who need it.
  • Protect company employees' mobile devices with a cloud-based security solution that works wherever they are.

Individuals should:

  • Avoid using easy-to-guess passwords such as 1234, birthdays, and auto-login settings that save passwords.
  • Avoid accessing sensitive information (such as bank accounts) when using an unsecured public Wi-Fi network.
  • Use the phone’s auto-erase function if there are doubts that a device has been compromised.
  • Download apps from only from the App Store, Google Play, or other trusted sources, as these sources screen and remove suspicious apps regularly.

Mobile phones are becoming an attractive target for hackers owing to their heavy usage and the amount of information they carry. Furthermore, mobile phone security has just remained limited to a security lock pattern or password. More sophisticated threats are evolving, so with the help of Infosys BPM business transformation services keep yourself and your business updated with the latest cybersecurity tools. That way, you will hopefully always be one step ahead of hackers!

*For organizations on the digital transformation journey, agility is key in responding to a rapidly changing technology and business landscape. Now more than ever, it is crucial to deliver and exceed on organizational expectations with a robust digital mindset backed by innovation. Enabling businesses to sense, learn, respond, and evolve like a living organism, will be imperative for business excellence going forward. A comprehensive, yet modular suite of services is doing exactly that. Equipping organizations with intuitive decision-making automatically at scale, actionable insights based on real-time solutions, anytime/anywhere experience, and in-depth data visibility across functions leading to hyper-productivity, Live Enterprise is building connected organizations that are innovating collaboratively for the future.

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