Almost every one of us uses various mobile gadgets such as smartphones or tablets in our daily lives, but we rarely consider the fact of how much we actually rely on them. Those devices help us in our business affairs, keep us in touch with our friends and relatives, amuse us and tell us all the important news we need. But unfortunately, under certain circumstances, those gadgets may appear to be not so helpful and friendly, and may even work against you.
The main issue with modern smartphones hides in the fact that they gather tonnes of our private and sometimes even corporate and valuable information. That’s why they frequently become targets for various hackers and specialized malicious apps. Today we would like to tell you about the threats your smartphone can bring (link to blog post on attack patterns).
First of all we should mention that your smartphone is able to track your location. Even if you have a pretty obsolete device that is not mounted with a GPS or GLONASS receiver it is still able to find you. As you know, every mobile phone and every base station has its own unique identifier. As long as your mobile device maintains a connection with at least three of the closest base stations your position may be calculated between them, based on the signal power from each of them. Such a technique is called mobile tower triangulation and it is pretty rough – the accuracy is between 100-150 meters (300-500 feet) in urban areas, where there are lots of base stations and 2-3 kilometers (1-2 miles) in rural areas.
Tracking is not the only threat our smartphones face though. Don’t forget about mobile viruses and malicious applications. This can apply to any smartphone user, regardless of the mobile platform you are using. While there is a persistent view that the Android OS is the most vulnerable for such malware, there are lots of malicious apps for iOS, Windows Phone and Blackberry OS as well. Your smartphone may be infected when you click some un-trusted links or you can unknowingly install a virus yourself, by downloading apps from third parties.
The goal of most of those viruses is to send lots of SMS messages to short phone numbers with high tariff prices, stealing money from a user’s account in the process. Some of them even steal credit card data and other information that may help evildoers to get some money. But there are far more dangerous viruses, like those that steal your emails or dial random phone numbers. That last feature is what makes them really dangerous for businesses, because literally, any mobile phone can be infected with that virus. In that case virus creators will be able to call his own phone number and listen to whatever is going on around an infected smartphone. That is probably the reason why many business centers and big company headquarters have their conference calls upgraded with GSM blockers and other anti-eavesdropping equipment.
But fortunately, it is pretty easy to protect yourself from such malicious apps. There are a couple of easy steps you’ll need to perform: first of all never install apps from third parties, use your native app store. Second, if you are an Android user use the latest anti virus applications. Finally if you are an iOS user remember the fact that jailbreaking lowers your systems defenses, so avoid jailbreaking it if it is not really necessary.
That’s not a full description of the widely spread mobile threats, because basically, any of your mobile gadgets can be used against you. Hopefully however you now have a basic understanding of the sort of threats mobile users face.
About Jakk: Jakk Ogden is the founder of Technology Blogged. 25, with a love for good writing, you'll find Jakk playing 'Drag Racing' on his Nexus 5 and rocking a pair of Grado headphones. If you love technology, be sure to subscribe to his feed for unique editorials. View author profile.