Many mobile consumers are unaware of the security threats their devices face with everyday use. Users are lulled into a false sense of security by a number of myths circulating around the topic.
Chances are, you too have been misled by at least one common mobile security myth, causing you to make the kinds of mistakes that put your precious mobile data at risk. Knowing fact from fiction will help you to protect your mobile assets. To bring some of these misconceptions to light, here are a few common mobile security myths and the facts that disprove them:
THE MYTH: The apps I download only ask for permission to access necessary information, so it’s safe to grant that permission.
THE REALITY: Android apps can ask for 124 types of permissions, and 33% of apps ask for more permissions than they need. With these apps, one click and your privacy is history. You grant permission when the app is installed – nothing later tells you what an app is doing with your data. Be sure to only purchase from well-known, reputable app stores and to research the apps before you download. Always look carefully at what data the app is going to access on your mobile device. If something doesn’t look right, don’t install the app.
THE MYTH: There’s no risk in leaving Wi-Fi on when my mobile device is not in use.
THE REALITY: Cybercriminals and identity thieves can easily access your information without your knowledge if the connection is not secure. One way to stay safe is to limit your use of hotspots. When you’re away from your home or work network, use a 3G or 4G data connection instead; most mobile phone providers encrypt the traffic between cell towers and your device.
THE MYTH: Phishing is something that only happens on PCs, so I don’t have to worry about that when using my phone or tablet.
THE REALITY: The rise of mobile commerce, gaming and even banking has brought convenience, but it has also opened the door to a flood of phishing attacks. Now, clicking on the wrong link in an email or responding to a phony message on your smartphone or tablet can land you in just as much trouble as it would on your computer. Always be suspicious when you receive a text message from a company asking for personal information. If you believe the message is legitimate, call the company to verify the text. Never click on a link in an unsolicited email or text message, and always double-check the web address of a site.
Still think your mobile devices are safe? “Like” us on Facebook and take our mobile security myth quiz to test your knowledge. Participants can enter to win a Galaxy tablet with one year free McAfee Mobile Security (MMS), a Kindle Fire with one year free MMS or a copy of Robert Siciliano’s “99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile Device Was Hacked” eBook plus one year free MMS.
If you’re attending Mobile World Congress (MWC) stop by and see McAfee at the Intel booth (Hall 3, Stand C34). We’ll be showing our mobile security offerings and you can learn how to protect your mobile device. And if you show that you’ve liked us on Facebook or followed us on Twitter, we’ll give you a prize! Just look for the people in the red T-shirts.