For those of us living in the northern hemisphere it is spring time. As the days get longer and warmer, fresh grass is starting to grow. Trees are starting to return to life as fresh buds develop into leaves. Growth abounds. However, have you ever considered the growing threat of mobile malware to the security of your smartphone?
Trends In Smartphone Sales
In 2017 private and corporate customers purchased 1.46 billion smartphones, according to IDC. Of these 1.46 billion smartphones, 85% were Android devices. Just under 15% were iOS devices. The remaining smartphone sales (less than 1% of all devices shipped) were Windows phones or other devices.
While Android smartphones dominate the market in terms of sales volume are they the most secure? The Nokia Threat Intelligence Report for 2017 would suggest otherwise.
Malware in Mobile Networks
According to the Nokia Threat Intelligence Report, Android devices accounted for nearly 68% of malware infections. Windows phones/PC’s accounted for 28%. iPhones and other devices account for the remaining malware infections.
Why are Android devices the main target for mobile malware? Android smartphone users can download apps from sources other than Google Play store. Android smartphones users are downloading malware infected applications through phishing and advertising campaigns. In certain regions, third party application stores have become the norm. In China, Google Play ranks 10th with less than 4% market share among users of Android devices.
Users of Apple smartphones are unable to download mobile applications other than from the App Store. Unless of course you decide to “jail break” your iPhone. Jail breaking an iPhone means you are freeing it from limitations imposed by Apple Inc and/or your mobile service provider. You can then download 3rd party applications that are not available through the App Store. You can also add functional to your iPhone. An example of this would be to redesign an application such as Messages. What are the disadvantages with jail breaking an iPhone. You could void any warranty with your service provider. You may end up with an iPhone that suffers from degraded service.
Smartphone Operating Systems Compared
Google Inc, designed Android for maximum openness and flexibility. This benefits both the user and developer. It also means that Android is more open to attacks.
Apple Inc, uses a technique called “sandboxing“. There is limited interaction between applications, and also the iOS operating system. This prevents the spread of malware on an iPhone.
An inherent weakness with Android devices is the slow uptake with upgrades. The longer you wait to upgrade an Android device, the more vulnerable you are to mobile malware. Apple are much more assertive in pushing out upgrades to the iPhone.
Android devices are more susceptible to mobile malware than the iPhone. To guard against malware attacks users of Android phones should download applications from the Play Store only. Also consider changing your smartphone every 2 years, to benefit from security updates. Check your Google accounts security settings. Do you recognize all the devices registered against your Google account? If you identify an unrecognized device, delete it from your Google account and change your password.
iPhone customers avoid the temptation to buy a jail broken phone.
Corporate customers should consider bring your own device, and mobile device management policies.
It is never too late to review the security settings on your smartphone. If you would like to know more, please contact us at email@example.com