How to practice safe smartphone behaviour for true mobile freedom

  • Mobile security risks are growing rapidly. Globally, out of the 10.8 million apps analysed by Symantec’s Norton Mobile Insights in 2015, almost 3.3 million were classified as malware, a 230 percent increase from 2014. The Norton Mobile Survey shows that the most concerning security issues for Indian mobile users were virus/malware attacks (34 percent), followed by threats involving fraudulent access or misuse of credit card or bank account details (21 percent) and hacking or leaking of personal information (19 percent). While four out of five (81 percent) consumers concede that security risks like malware, hacking and misuse of data, cyber stalking etc. on mobile devices were just as great, if not greater than those faced while using desktops/laptops, ironically a majority (nearly 60 percent) of them seem to be undermining the security of their devices by dismissing these risks as fairly minimal.

  • Mobile devices are increasingly important to how we shop and pay – both online and in-store. Not surprising that e-commerce apps (76 percent) along with mobile banking (67 percent) and mobile wallets (62 percent), rank amongst most popular apps, preceded only by social networking (86 percent) and messaging apps (78 percent). Close to 50 percent of consumers accept that they shop online more than ever before. 52 percent of users believe their mWallet has come under threat as a result of using other apps on their devices, especially social media apps which pose greatest threats according to 27 percent respondents.This is not surprising as, on an average users find it safe to hold over ₹19,000 across their mWallet accounts at any given time.

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    Victims Lost an Average of 24 Hours Dealing With Mobile Security Issues Experiencing security problems and nuisance like spam, cyberstalking, virus attacks and so on was by no means uncommon. Perhaps not unexpectedly, the most common nuisances that consumers complained of were junk texts and annoying pop up ads etc. (mentioned by over one in three). Worryingly, the same proportion also mentioned that they had experienced virus/malware on their devices. The victims also felt that these problems had taken up an average of over 24 hours to resolve.

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    Be Vigilant: Being aware of SMS phishing scams is another essential measure. It’s not just emails you have to watch out for these days—phishing scams come in the form of text messages as well. Remember to trust your instincts; if a message seems suspicious, it probably is.

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    Review Settings and Updates Regularly: Keeping your phone or tablet’s software updated is important, as is the case with your computer. If your mobile device isn’t regularly updated, it’s vulnerable to threats. You’ll also want to review your security settings on your device and make adjustments as needed.

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    Download Apps From Official App Stores: Third-party app stores may not put apps through the same rigour as official app stores such as the Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store.

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    Use A Reputable Mobile Security Solution: Consider using a security software such as Norton Mobile Security, it helps to use discretion when installing apps. Norton Mobile Insight, a proprietary intelligence tool, crawls over 200 app stores globally to determine and provide dynamic analysis of app behavior. It protects against Android apps that leak personal information/content from devices, change settings, place ads in the notification bar, and require high battery or data usage.