Usually, when internet fraudsters want to perpetrate their unscrupulous acts, they target desktop computers and personal computers because of the wide range of information stored on these devices. But due to the introduction of several antivirus and anti-cyberactivity programs, the rate at which computers are attacked have reduced drastically.

But as you might have expected, these fraudsters have also evolved with time, switching their focus from computers to the more easily accessible devices – smartphones. As a result, smartphones are now at the forefront of most scam attacks and cyber threats.

This is a growing concern because virtually every one of us now uses one form of a mobile device or another, from smartphones to smartwatches. However, in order to protect ourselves from the threats we now face, it is important for us to equip ourselves with the right information regarding these issues.

Types of mobile device cyber threats

Most of the mobile device cyber threats that are around today are simply the mobile version of threats that desktop computers face. So if you’ve been conversant with the series of desktop cybercrime stories that have been flying around before now, you should be able to relate with some of the threats we are about to mention.

Mobile ransomware: this scam locks your mobile device and prevents you from accessing your data – including call history, gallery, bank app details, messages, and other vital components of your phone. After locking your device, you’ll then get a pop-up message asking you to pay a ransom to the criminal to get your phone restored.

Mobile Scareware: This scam is similar to the ransomware scam, only that the pop-up message you get is nothing but a mere threat, which is meant to scare you into believing that your device is under attack.

Spyware and drive-by downloads

Spyware is, by far, the most challenging threat to mobile devices. Because while other scams such as ransomware and scareware can be noticed once they get into your phone, a typical spyware program can be snuck into your smartphone by a hacker, and you won't even notice that it's there. Usually, people become victims of spyware while browsing the internet. You think you're simply visiting a website, but the site clandestinely installs spyware on your device.

Once in, spyware will spy on your vital data and details and then sends whatever information it has gathered to the conman who created it.

Malicious apps

Every app developer will tell you that their app is one of the best apps around. But in reality, not all apps are made equal. Yes, an app could be so efficient that it helps you schedule your day, order your routine, and keeps you ahead of time every day. But the same app could be stealing vital bank details, passwords, and crucial personal information from your phone's backend without you even noticing it.

Phishing and Smishing

Phishing and Smishing come in the forms of emails and SMS, respectively. In a typical fashion, the fraudster will send an unsolicited email or SMS to your phone, under the guise of a reputable company or service provider. You'll be expected to click a button, proceed with an action, or make a download. Once you do, the cybercriminal will gain access to your phone, locking it and asking you for a ransom or installing a spyware program without your notice.

How to keep your mobile device safe from cyber threats?

Download security software

The first and the best way to guarantee the safety of your mobile device in this fraud-ridden world of ours is to download an antivirus and anti-malware on your phone. Just like how you can download an antivirus on your computer, there are lots of trusted antivirus programs that you can download on your phones too.

Don’t procrastinate; instead, go to your phone app store right now and download an antivirus on your phone. But when you do, be sure you’re downloading a product from a reputable brand such as McAfee, Avast, Microsoft, and the likes.

Create stronger passwords

If you're still in the habit of using your children's names, pet names, date of birth, last four digits of your phone number, and the likes as your passwords, please stop it. Passwords are not supposed to be a reflection of the things around you, and if at all you want to create your passwords from the information around you, please mix it up. Instead of using, say, only lower-case characters, mix things up and use both lower case and upper case characters. And if possible, add some digits too.

Beware of new and unfamiliar apps

Many people are still in the habit of downloading apps without first reading the reviews and testimonials of those that have used the apps in the past. If you're one such person, please turn a new leaf.

Your mobile device is not a dumping ground for junk and random apps. So before you decide to visit your app store to download that app, you saw a friend using, always check out the public opinion on the product.

Update your apps and software regularly

You should also make sure that your mobile device software is updated as at when due. Usually, most software manufacturers create updated versions of their products, and they send prompt messages to users informing them of the availability of these new versions. Once you get such a message from your software manufacturer, please follow through with the message and download the latest update.

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