As financial transactions through mobile phones are on the surge, the danger of data thefts and hacking is also on the rise A smartphone fraud can happen in two ways, either on the mobile device or from the user. The major attack is stealing user’s identity like username, password, mother’s maiden name, date of birth etc. This can happen through a malware attack or log in through unauthorized application or website.
1. Keep up to date
When it comes to protecting yourself against hackers, step one is always to install software updates as soon as they become available: that’s as true on smartphones as it is on computers. Yes, updating can be a tiresome and intrusive process, and it sometimes brings annoying changes to the interface that you’re used to. All the same, a huge proportion of successful hacks exploit vulnerabilities that have already been patched; exposing yourself unnecessarily is just daft.
I’d also strongly advise against using unofficial tools to “root” your phone (known as “jailbreaking” on iOS) unless you know exactly what you’re doing. On a rooted phone, technical safeguards can be defeated, allowing apps to perform all sorts of actions that are normally prohibited – and that can include snooping on your personal data.
2. Be careful of what you install on your smartphone
When you install a smartphone app, you may be asked to grant it various permissions, including the ability to read your files, access your camera or listen in to your microphone. There are legitimate uses for these capabilities, but they’re potentially open to abuse: think before you approve the request. That applies especially to Android users, as Google’s app-vetting process isn’t as strict as Apple’s, and there have been reports of malicious apps spending months on the Play Store before being spotted and taken down.
Android also lets you install apps from third-party sources: this allows services such as Amazon’s competing Appstore to operate, but it also provides an easy way for rogue apps to get onto your phone. I’d strongly advise against installing anything from an unfamiliar website.
3.Set Lock Screen Security
Leaving your phone unattended on a desk for a few minutes could lead to someone accessing it to extract lots of vulnerable information. Which is why enabling lock screen security is essential to keeping your smartphone away from unwanted users. This is the easiest way to defend you and your data, and pretty much every smartphone has this feature. Manufacturers know privacy is important to users. Some thieves would try breaking the lock screen by trying out passwords but to really keep your data safe from brute force hacking, you could enable a feature that erases all data from your smartphone after a preset number of failed attempts. On the iPhone, it can be enabled under Settings > General > Passcode Lock > Erase Data. By default, this kind of feature is not available on the Android.
4. Turn Off Settings When Not In Use
Hackers are able to do all sorts of things that will surprise you. Turning off phone settings like Bluetooth, Location Services, Near Field Communication (NFC), Wi-Fi and even Cellular Data when not in use not only conserves smartphone battery but also gives hackers less access to your device. Location Services and Bluetooth should not be turned on when not in use as apps can use lots of location data without you knowing it. As Bluetooth is constantly transmitting your devices’ location and presence, it is possible for hackers to use it to gain access and extract any kind of information found on your device.
5. Don’t Download Shady Apps
Apps are probably the only thing that can harm you by stealing your personal data. When downloading an app, make sure that all the details of the app come from the original ‘company’ or correct developer. Some sneaky apps might even trick people to download a “New and improved HD version” of a legitimate app, so make sure you check a few app details before downloading. Make sure that you are downloading only through the authorized mobile application, every mobile application will have more than one version-one developed by the actual service provider and other could be from many third-party developers. Always make sure that you use the genuine application developed by the actual service provider.
For instance, a mobile banking app (or any app that handles financial accounts) should come from the bank itself as seen here on the iOS App Store, and not some other seller or developer. App ratings and comments can also tell a story. If it’s a popular bank or financial service (PayPal) app that has no rating or comments, chances are it might be fake and you should be careful about downloading it and logging in. So be sure to download apps only if it has been rated many times and has multiple comments.
6. Be Wary Of Fishy Apps and Links
Viruses on mobile platforms can be present in many ways. It can be in the form of a ‘dirty’ app that runs in the background transmitting user data. As the Android system allows third-party apps or programs to be installed (very easily), Android users may open their mobile system up to attacks if they are not wary of the apps they download to their phone. There are however anti-virus scanning apps and other tools on Android that can detect and remove anything that can harm your privacy.iOS users do not have anti-virus scanning apps, basically because there isn’t a pressing need for it. Apple is very strict with what gets on the App Store and will take down apps that harm its users in any way. Skip clicking on links in SMS, MMS, or even email attachments from unknown or unauthorized senders. Avoiding anything fishy altogether is very simple and should be practiced.
7. Avoid Losing Your Smartphone
Not losing your smartphone is sometimes easier said than done. Of course, no one wants to lose their smartphone, but unfortunate circumstances might happen. You might have left it in a bar, in public transport, someone pickpocketed you during your vacation or you might have grabbed someone else’s phone by mistake. By all accounts, chances are your phone is good as gone. If these things have a tendency to plague your life (some of us are serial phone-losers), installing apps that can locate your smartphone on your iOS or Android device is essential. These apps can help you locate your phone and some have the option to wipe out the data on the phone so you don’t become a victim of identity theft.
In the end, there is no one mobile platform that is safer than another. With so many devices but only a handful of platforms to choose from, attackers are able to target any platform they desire and the repercussions can be quite devastating to power users. We, as users have to be very cautious with what we do with our smartphones. Safe and cautious uses are the best practice to avoid any disaster.