Mobile Threats (And How to Avoid Them)

The benefits of using mobile devices should never compromise information security. Slow down, think before you click, and always follow your organization's policies.

Smartphones and tablets allow us to work from almost any location and improve our quality of life. However, the use of these mobile devices can present significant security challenges from both a personal and professional standpoint. Here are five common threats to watch out for and how to avoid them:

Network Spoofing

A mobile device is only as secure as the network it’s connected to, which is why network spoofing is so dangerous. In this attack, cybercriminals set up imposter WiFi networks that look legitimate – “Airport WiFi”, for example – and use them to steal data. Circumvent this threat by disabling the auto-connect option on your device and verifying the legitimacy of every network before joining.

Unpatched Vulnerabilities

An out-of-date device is susceptible to malware and other unnecessary risks because i does not have the latest security patches. Make sure to keep all software and apps current, and enable automatic updates wherever they’re available.


With messaging apps exploding in popularity, it’s no surprise that smishing – phishing via text message – attacks continue to rise. Never click on links in, or respond to, text messages from unknown users, especially those that use threatening or urgent language, such as claiming that a bank account has been compromised.

smartphone displaying apps

Malicious Apps

Scammers create malicious apps – often impersonating legitimate apps – to invade privacy. Before downloading and installing any software, research the developers, and only download from verified sources. Once installed, carefully review permissions and security settings to ensure the app isn’t collecting more data than is necessary for it to function.

Malware and Viruses

Malicious apps and small screens combined with the click-happy nature of humans – increase the likelihood of malware and other infections. Don’t let your device get sick! Install antivirus and anti-malware software, and click (or tap) with extreme caution.

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Tracy Hardin

Tracy Hardin is President and founder of Next Century Technologies in Lexington, KY. She has a bachelor's degree in computer science from the University of Kentucky and has earned certifications from Novell, Cisco and CompTIA. Her specialties in the field of IT are network design and security, project management and improving productivity through technology. She loves helping people by sharing her knowledge of tech.