4/10 Mobile Phones Vulnerable To Cyber-Attacks, Reveals New Report

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Cyber-Attacks
Cyber-Attacks

4/10 Mobile Phones Vulnerable To Cyber-Attacks, Reveals New Report

Four out of 10 mobile phones in use in the UK have been discovered to be vulnerable to cyber-attacks, a new study has found.

CCS Insight’s research – of 500 UK smartphone users – has found just a third of all handsets are protected against common types of mobile threats, with many users installing dangerous third-party apps to make their phones faster and even more efficient.

Most were unaware that third-party apps, downloads and messaging services could potentially be used by cyber-attackers to cause damage or gain access to private information.

CCS Insight said the lack of security could lead to a range of problems for UK users, including damage to smartphones, loss of personal information and financial losses as mobile-based attacks have become more common.

The researcher added that such attacks could happen without users noticing as they were often targeted at data that was already vulnerable on the device.

“Cyber-criminals are taking advantage of the lack of security offered by many apps, in order to covertly exploit devices or give access to sensitive personal data,” said Piers Harding-Rolls, senior analyst at CCS Insight.

“Any vulnerability that can be accessed without the user’s knowledge should be a cause for concern, especially for handsets that can be lost or stolen.”

The report found that 10 percent of handsets in use in the UK had been compromise by cyber-attacks.

This was the highest level of handset-based attack prevalence of any region worldwide, which is likely to be caused by the fact the country has the third largest smartphone market in the world.

A third of handsets with monthly active users in the UK were found to be infected with malware, with only India and Brazil having higher rates of cyber-attacks.

Experts said that the figures highlight the importance of having better security for devices to make them harder for cyber-criminals to cyber-attacks.

Nikesh Arora, chief executive of messaging giant WhatsApp, warned that more people should be vigilant with their mobile data and applications.

“Data on mobile phones is more sensitive than ever before. It is completely unnecessary to surf the web on insecure public Wi-Fi networks and device control can affect the speed at which data is received,” Arora said.

“These can slow down your connection speed and may affect how your device works. To protect your device against security threats, it is important that you enable application controls.”

However, the research was based on 500 smartphone owners who currently use the Android or iOS operating systems.

Top cyber-attack vulnerability in UK smartphones – known attacks

Virus apps

Malicious apps or fraudulent software can be installed on a phone, compromising privacy and giving hackers access to private information.

Popular applications including Amazon Alexa, Snapchat, Amazon Shopping and Facebook can be manipulated in the same way.

Once installed, these apps will appear as trusted apps on the phone but in reality, they are not. They are secretly owned by hackers and they will even carry out some of their functions without the user’s knowledge.

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