While preparing the Mobile World Congress, I have reflected on my first cell phone. Whether it’s the first, a Motorola folding phone, then Nokia’s indestructible brick phone, followed by the first-generation iPhone, one thing is certain today: what lives in the palm of my hand has advanced light years beyond its first model. As soon as Blackberry made handheld personal assistants the norm, mobile security measures needed to improve, and quickly. Suddenly, everyone saved personal information on a single device connected to the Internet.

As confidence in our devices grew, so did the interest in hacking them. The first malware targeting mobile phones was discovered in 2004 when the Cabir variety infected Nokia devices through unsafe Bluetooth connections. Before the attack, it was thought that malware was only a threat to computers. A new era in cybersecurity was under way, and the cat-and-mouse game between mobile hackers and security professionals was underway.

Today’s mobile devices come with features that we probably could not have imagined just ten years ago, and now they are incredibly powerful computing devices. Cybercriminals become more creative with their attacks, developing complex viruses that are difficult to identify and annihilate. In response to the arms race between the cybersecurity defense and the attackers, new security tactics have been enlisted, such as geolocation tracking. However, if these measures are compromised in any way, it facilitates hackers’ access to personal accounts.

Follow these steps to help protect your mobile device against the changing threats of today:

Geolocation: geolocation is used to inform your location to your applications and to associate it with real-world locations. Your phone encourages geolocation, since it allows applications to quickly determine your location to provide services to you. However, it is important to think critically about leaving these permissions at all times, as it can allow hackers to discover their whereabouts and understand their movement patterns. Make sure that geolocation permissions are enabled only for those applications that are required for the application to work as advertised, such as Uber or Lyft, Google Maps, etc.
Applications: Keeping your phone updated (in all ways) is one of the best ways to make sure you have the latest and greatest security measures to protect your data. Each application is as vulnerable as its operating system and hackers have been able to find and expose holes in popular applications, attacking phones and their data. Get used to updating not only your operating system, but also every application on your phone (avoid those ghost applications!), And it will be much easier for you to maintain personal privacy.
Cameras: cyber criminals can access the camera of your device to monitor it. Certain “spy applications” can be installed, which allows users to hijack the camera and microphone of a smartphone to track and monitor anyone. These applications cost only $ 8 per month and can be used by anyone from hackers to parents or employers. Look at the applications you choose to download and make sure they do not start asking for excessive permissions.

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To keep your personal data as secure as possible, observe the suspicious behavior of the device. You probably know your phone like the back of your hand: it goes everywhere with you and you check it 150 times a day, so it’s probably obvious when something looks suspicious. If you suspect that a malicious application has been installed, delete it and report the application to the application store from which you downloaded it. To avoid an attack, it is a good idea to run antivirus software such as McAfee Mobile Security (free for both Android and iOS), which helps protect your device and your data.