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How To Protect Your Mobile Device Amid Growing Cyber Attacks

With rapid digitisation, the use of mobile phones for various banking services has increased manifold, and so have cybercrimes—tips to avoid such traps

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Versha Jain
July 14, 2023
Protect Your Mobile Device

Protect Your Mobile Device

Participants at a two-day G20 conference in Gurugram from July 13-14 highlight the dangers cybercriminals pose as our digital space expands to various areas of the financial sector. A report by the Global System for Mobile Communications Association (GSMA), GSMA predicts that India’s mobile phone users will reach 920 million by 2025. This rapidly growing number of mobile phone users also increases the vulnerability to cybercrimes. For instance, as per the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) data, registered cybercrime cases increased from 50,035 in 2020 to 52,974 in 2021. Of which 60.8 per cent had a motive of fraud. This high figure highlights the urgency in mitigating cyber threats, primarily through mobile phones and apps. So here are some tips to Protect Your Mobile Device yourself from various cybercrimes.

How To Protect Yourself From Cybercrimes? 

Cyberattacks could include spyware, phishing, and unauthorized access to mobile phones, tablets, etc. These attacks extend to both mobile devices and the apps installed on them. You may follow the following steps to safeguard against cyberattacks. 

Use A Strong Password And Change It Frequently: The password should not be obvious as your phone number, date of birth, etc. Keep strong passwords containing numbers, symbols, and capital and small case letters in an irregular sequence. You may also use biometrics, for example, fingerprint authentication, to strengthen device and app security.  

Also, do not use the ‘Remember Me’ option for the password. It may be risky if the device is lost and someone else can access the phone or the apps. So change the password occasionally, and whenever a two-factor authentication option is available, opt for it as this offers an added security layer.  

Ensure A Secure Network: Always ensure that the phone network is secure. Using a free public Wi-Fi network may open your device to digital threats. Use Bluetooth cautiously to avoid automatic connection to unencrypted networks, which may pose a risk to your device and data.  

Antivirus Application: The device is of little utility without an internet connection. To protect against cyber risks from the Internet, install a good antivirus application on your device. Also, make it a habit to delete the cookies and browsing history saved automatically in the device when you open the links and websites. These cookies may store your information, which, if it gets into the wrong hands, may cause irreparable harm.   

Download Mobile Apps From Trusted Sources: Plenty of apps are available today for different services, but you should be careful while downloading them. Says Manish Mimani, founder & CEO of Protectt.ai, a mobile app security company, “Downloading an app from an unknown or untrusted source can expose your mobile device to malicious software, enabling cybercriminals to gain control of your device and personal data. Stick to trusted app stores like Apple App Store and Google Play Store, as they have stringent development guidelines to mitigate potential risks.” 

Keep Updating The Software: The operating system needs to be updated regularly. These updates are security features and protect the device from cyber threats. “These updates not only fix bugs and vulnerabilities but also eliminate outdated software that can slow down your device and make it more susceptible to data breaches,” says Mimani.  

So, either update the operating system manually or set an automatic update mode, but keep it updated to safeguard against cyberattacks. 

Always Log Out And Keep Data Backup: Make it a practice to log out whenever you are done with using the application, more so when an application is linked with another one, for example, google apps. Besides, remember that if the digital data is compromised, you may lose not only your information but also contacts, pictures, etc., which could be as precious as money or more. So, keep a backup of your data on one other device or store it on clouds such as Google Drive, OneDrive, etc.   

Follow Cautious Giving App Permissions: When you permit the app to access information, exercise caution as some apps request access to sensitive resources, such as your camera, storage, and contact list, says Mimani, adding that you may restrict their access, when the app is actively in use to minimise the potential risks associated with excessive permissions. Also, review the permissions granted to each app so that no unnecessary information can be shared through the app permission. 

The virtual world is fast evolving, and it can be hard to understand how all these devices or apps function in the background or why some apps want access to your contact numbers and other personal data. However, you must always be alert and immediately inform the cyber police if a threat is detected. You can register a complaint or call them on the helpline number 1930.

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