Mobile devices have become so popular they have completely overtaken the computer in terms of convenience. In the years before the mobile, you had to log into the internet via a PC or laptop. Most of the mobile devices in use globally use the Android operating system.

Research by Which? a consumer watchdog suggests that over one billion devices are prone to hacking because users globally were not getting any security updates. This lack of updates leaves them vulnerable to ransomware, data theft, and other cyber-threats.

Some cyber threats are specific to the Android OS such as:




?       Rogue Apps

Since the Android OS is popular, developers keep building new apps that can only run on the Android OS, which is not necessarily bad. However, hackers build apps, which contain malware, and Google Play’s app review process is not as strict as the one for Apple’s App Store. This makes it easy for a malicious app to make its way past security, and confuse a user into inadvertently installing the rogue app. An Android user can install software from unknown sources by enabling it in the device settings, making it easy to download malware.

?       Spyware

Spyware is common in Android OS devices, and half the time, users install spyware unintentionally. The spyware decrypts usernames and passwords, tracks online activities, etc. While anti-spyware and anti-virus software can do a good job of detecting and deleting spyware, they may not work 100%. Mobile device spyware is an app installed on the user’s phone and secretly harvests data from the mobile phone.

General cyber-risks

Some cyber risks common to both Android and iOS include:

?       Man-in-the-Middle attacks

Man-in-the-Middle (MitM) attacks do nor target any operating system and can attack either Android or iPhone operating systems. MitM attacks happen when users use unsecured Wi-Fi and capture data in transit between websites.

?       Mobile phishing

Hackers use different tricks such as voice calls, emails, pop up ads, or text messages. Phishing involves a hacker posing as a legitimate source such as a bank, sending emails with links or attachments. The links redirect the user to a fake bank website, which mimics the real website. This site solicits for such details as usernames and passwords.

?       Data leaks

Mobile apps cause the largest number of data leaks. If a user gives a riskware app permission into their phones, but does not check on security, this could be a problem. The riskware apps are free on official app stores, but they send your information to remote servers where hackers and advertisers can gain access to it.

How to mitigate the cyber-risks

You can mitigate these risks by:

1.    Using a VPN

A Virtual Private Network (VPN) is one of the best methods you can use to mitigate cyber-threats.The app creates a secure tunnel between your devices and the internet. Downloading a VPN app on your phone encrypts your data, especially when you are on public networks in shopping centres or cafes.

2.    Updating OS

Do not ignore system updates when they pop up on your device. It is important to keep the operating system up to date as they protect you from threats and bugs.

3.    Securing your passwords

Ensure your device has strong passwords, which cannot be guessed by a hacker. Ensure your apps all have a different password so that in case hackers gain access into one app, they cannot gain access to the others. Use two-factor authentication such as a password and a biometric authentication such as the retina or fingerprint scans.

4.    Being cautious of your downloads

Ensure you download apps from the official app stores to avoid downloading rogue apps, which steal your credentials. To be safe, check the app reviews, what users say, how many the reviews are, the last update, and the developer’s contact info.

Conclusion

The Android OS is very popular and has more users than the more secure iOS, but it is prone to attacks all the same. Mitigate risks to your Android or iOS device by doing a few simple things such as updating your OS, having strong passwords, using anti-malware software, etc.

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