I talk most weeks about phishing emails that lure you to click on potentially damaging links that can lead to hackers penetrating your networks. What I don't usually mention is where or on what device you might open such an email ...
Your smartphone is as vulnerable as any desktop computer or laptop you may own!
In my experience, people are often caught out when in a hurry and may find the smaller screen displays make it more difficult to spot malicious phishing attacks. Mobile phishing rates have doubled for users of Office 365 and G Suite.
"This is a serious problem!"
The other issue is that mobile phishing attacks extend beyond email to SMS, MMS, messaging platforms, and social media apps. Attacks are technically simple, but novel in their approach. They seek to exploit human trust along social networks using personal context. For example, a parent would click without hesitation on a message saying their daughter has been in an accident at school.
In a report published in 2011, IBM revealed that mobile users are three times more likely to fall for phishing scams compared to desktop users. This claim was based on accessed log files found on Web servers used to host websites involved in phishing campaigns.
Almost a decade later, we continue to see different organizations reporting an increased trend in phishing attacks targeting the mobile market. Surprisingly, phishers seem to have tipped the scales to a new preferred target: iPhone users.
A leading mobile security solutions provider, has observed that iOS users experience twice as many phishing attacks compared to their Android counterparts.
"So, what's the solution you may ask?"
Firstly, as far as emails are concerned, the use of an email security suite is a must. All emails that use your domain name would be 'washed' by services that outperform the spam filters from Microsoft and Google. Therefore, potentially malicious emails are blocked at the source so won't be delivered in the first instance.
All the other types of attacks directed at smartphones may be blocked by having a security application on the device itself. This includes antivirus, web scanning and mobile device management software running on the device.
"Your mobile phone is as easy to target as any computer or laptop!"
It must be treated with the same due diligence when it comes to security as you do any other networked devices such as laptops. Your IT provider should be up-to-date with the suite of applications that can protect all the devices you use both at work and at home.
Until next time ...
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