Over the past few years of the 21st century, smartphones, production, and consumption have portrayed significant global growth. Today, smartphones have become almost inseparable from the lives of most individuals and businesses. Most people use smartphones for several functions revolving around their lives apart from communication. For instance, most business people use smartphones to store personal and business information such as photos, documents, bank accounts, personal diaries, and schedules. Notably, users trust that mobile phones are more secure and convenient in communication and information storage than laptops and desktops because they are always within the owners’ proximity. However, most smartphone manufacturers and users pay little attention to growing and evolving security risks which, when they occur, lead to the loss of important information or other heightened forms of cybercrimes, as this essay will demonstrate.
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Smartphones Security Issues Overview
The popularity of the many functions that users put smartphones into today has significantly contributed to the increased security risks facing smartphone users and owners. Cybercriminals and thieves know that most people store private and sensitive information on their mobile phones. For instance, users can store family photos, passwords, or other personal or business data, all of which attract the curiosity of cyber attackers who want to possess a person’s sensitive data with ulterior motives (Patil & Deshmukh, 2018). Most attackers leverage smartphone security loopholes that give them seamless access to private information such as the Short Message Service, Multimedia Messaging service, and other wireless connection services such as WIFI, GSM, and Bluetooth. Other attackers take advantage of the security weaknesses of browsers and software and the limited knowledge of the user.
Cyber-attacks Caused by Connecting Smartphones to Public WIFI
Noteworthy, as smartphone technology continues to evolve, so does cybercrime. As a result, most smartphone users face a widespread risk of their devices being hacked by cybercriminals when connected to the internet using public WIFI networks. If Smartphone users connect their devices to public WIFI, they risk unknowingly losing important information to hackers (Patil & Deshmukh, 2018). In addition, cyber attackers can easily eavesdrop on the user’s verbal or written communication to get sensitive personal such as their passwords and usernames. The attackers may use this information to access other users’ personal or business accounts or blackmail them to extort money from them. Therefore, smartphone users must avoid connecting their devices to public networks and rely on privately secured networks to enhance their information privacy and security.
Cyber Attacks through Smartphone Applications
Some types of smartphones which do not have application security, such as Blackberry, give cyber attackers easy access to the user’s phone applications. With this access, attackers can manipulate various processes, such as from the user’s phone. For instance, can access messaging applications and send, edit or delete messages without the owner’s knowledge or consent. In addition, third parties with malicious intentions can access users’ phone book read contacts, and make calls (Zaidi et al., 2016). Other times, hackers can intercept phone messaging functions, prompting an expensive application to pick up outgoing messages, causing the receiver to pay bills to access the text. Access to file opening phone applications by unauthorized persons can compromise important business files through viral infections. Research shows that hackers can acquire API keys to access Blackberry’s applications without raising the owner’s alarm (Zaidi et al., 2016). Therefore, smartphone companies and users need to pay significant attention to enhancing the integrity of data contained in software and applications.
Bluetooth Connection Attacks
Moreover, smartphone users also risk losing important personal or business information to attackers through file-sharing applications such as Bluetooth. Studies show that Bluetooth security issues vary from phone to phone. For instance, users who use their phones to access unregistered services that require Bluetooth authentication increase the risk of their devices being attacked and controlled by cyber criminals (Sharma & Gupta, 2016). Under the condition mentioned above, a hacker requires connecting their device to the virtual Bluetooth port of the user’s phone to control various functions of the host device.
Since Bluetooth uses the local area network to connect with other devices, the attacker requires proximity to their intended host for connection discovery. The satisfaction of this condition allows the attacker’s device to communicate with the user’s, thus enabling file transfer between both devices. At this point, the attacker can send a malicious file to the user’s device, which translates to a virus if received. Cabir is an example of a worm that automatically passes from the attacker’s device to the phones whose Bluetooth is on and discoverable (Patil & Deshmukh, 2018). Upon the user accepting the incoming file and installing it as a program on their phone, the phone system becomes infected by the worm.
Cyber Attacks on Smartphones through Malware
Since most people access the internet using their smartphones, there is a high possibility that their devices can encounter malware problems. Notably, Malwares refer to computer software that hurts the host device system. Research shows that there has been a significantly increased form of Malware over the last few years. The most common types of Malware include worms, viruses, and Trojans (Wang et al., 2019). Trojans are programs present in smartphone systems that enable direct connection between users’ smartphones and other external users. A computer worm is known for its ability to multiply in several computers using the same network. On the other hand, a virus is malicious computer software installed in various programs and runs alongside other programs. The above three types of Malware can be used positively to assist in the normal functioning of smartphones, but they can also help attackers corrupt data from a user’s device.
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In conclusion, smartphone production and consumption have been on the rise globally over the past few years. The main reason smartphones’ popularity has continued to grow recently is their ability to perform many functions that satisfy users’ personal and business needs. Among the many tasks of smartphones include communication and storage of personal information such as family photos, contacts, passwords, and business files. However, cybercrime seems to increase and evolve as smartphone technology grows in complexity, thus exposing users and manufacturing companies to several security risks. The vulnerability of these risks increases because smartphone companies and users pay little attention to enhancing security and privacy features. Therefore, many attackers leverage various security loopholes to intercept communications or steal important information from the user. As a result, smartphone users face several cyberattack risks. These risks include compromising messaging services such as SMS and MMS, where attackers can intercept users’ messages and perfume various alterations without the sender’s consent.
Patil, Y. G., & Deshmukh, P. S. (2018). A Review: Mobile Cloud Computing: Its Challenges and Security. International Journal of Scientific Research in Network Security and Communication, 6(01), 11-13.
Sharma, K., & Gupta, B. B. (2016). Multi-layer defense against malware attacks on smartphone wi-fi access channel. Procedia Computer Science, 78, 19-25.
Wang, Y., Sun, Y., Su, S., Tian, Z., Li, M., Qiu, J., & Wang, X. (2019). Location privacy in device-dependent location-based services: Challenges and solution. Computers, Materials and Continua: Web.
Zaidi, S. F. A., Shah, M. A., Kamran, M., Javaid, Q., & Zhang, S. (2016). A survey on security for smartphone devices. International journal of advanced computer science and applications, 7(4), 206-219. Web.