The new year is always an exciting time, but this is particularly true in the world of cyber security. From new products to the expansion of existing technology infrastructure, the start of a new year is always a time for innovation and development. Yet with new technology comes new cyber security threats. As consumers embrace new products and software, aggressors adapt and refine their tactics accordingly.
In 2020, all eyes are on mobile devices. Around the world, devices from smartphones to tablets and wearables are increasingly ingrained in day to day life and offering more benefits – and posing more threats – than ever. In a practical sense, what does this mean for mobile users and cyber security in Australia?
We’ve teamed up with cyber security experts ESET to bring you the top 5 cyber security trends you need to know about in 2020. From the rise of biometric security measures to the growing threat of SIM swapping, read on to learn what you can expect in mobile security this coming year.
5G networks enable data theft at unprecedented speeds
Offering download speeds between 4 and 20 GB per second and 10 times the bandwidth of existing 4G networks, the rollout of 5G networks in Australia is undoubtedly cause for celebration. For those with 5G enabled devices this means less lag time and faster than ever image and video downloads.
Yet 5G is not without its downsides. In a special report on cyber security, The FInancial Times cautioned that the transition to 5G networks may leave mobile devices connected to the Internet of Things vulnerable to attack. The high speeds enabled by 5G could allow cybercriminals to target mobile devices with weak in-built security and extract and download sensitive information in the blink of an eye. To combat this, ensure your mobile security software is up to date and always change your password from the factory default.
Malicious iPhone and Android apps on the rise
If you thought we left rogueware in the last decade, think again. Malicious mobile applications remain a threat in 2020 for both Apple and Android users, and span everything from spyware to Trojans and Hidden Processes that run in the background of the device. The Sophos 2020 Threat Report identified malicious software as “the biggest concern… on the Android platform”, noting that some app developers “have devised ingenious methods to conceal their apps’ true intent from scrutiny by Google”.
How can mobile users protect themselves from increasingly savvy cyber criminals? Start by only downloading apps from the official Apple or Google Play app store, and do your research on third party apps. Think carefully before granting permissions when installing new apps, and always read the end user agreement beforehand.
Biometric security measures become the new normal
Biometric authentication is set to become more common in the coming year, with more mobile devices integrating security measures like facial recognition and fingerprint or voice authentication. In 2020, an estimated 64% of new smartphones shipped worldwide will feature facial recognition technology – more than double the amount from last year.
While this will significantly streamline the process of logging into your device and apps, it does raise new concerns for mobile phones and privacy. If you’re concerned that your biometric data may be vulnerable to theft, we recommend implementing a strong back-up password and ensure that the software on your device is always current.
Beware of SIM swapping
In January 2020, New Scientist reported that the two-factor authentication method implemented by many sites and apps was vulnerable to a new type of cyber security threat. Known as ‘SIM swapping’, this threat sees hackers port existing phone numbers to new SIM cards, allowing them to effectively gain control of the number. From there, hackers can reset account passwords by redirecting the two-factor authentication text.
Constant vigilance is key to avoiding falling victim to this kind of cyber attack. Never click links, sign in to websites, or download apps that you don’t recognise, and always create strong passwords that don’t contain your personal information (such as your date of birth). We also caution against using Google or other social accounts to sign into other services, as this means that attackers only need to compromise one account to access a wealth of personal information.
Paying with mobile gets easier, and more risky
As mobile payment methods like Android Pay and Apple Pay become increasingly widespread, experts warn of the growing risk of theft at points of sale (POS). Phishing scams implemented at POS or over unsecured public Wi-Fi networks can expose you to the risk of fraudulent transactions through your mobile payment app.
While the risks don’t necessarily outweigh the benefits of mobile payment, we recommend exercising caution. If you are keen to continue using mobile payment methods, we strongly recommend doubling down on your mobile security methods, either by enabling multi-factor authentication or turning on biometric security settings.
Stay ahead of the cyber security curve with the right software
As mobile technology continues to advance and evolve, cyber attackers are keeping in step. With mobile cyber attacks becoming increasingly sophisticated, it’s essential for all mobile users to remain vigilant and take their cyber security seriously.
If you want peace of mind that your device is protected against digital aggressors, we recommend investing in a security solution like ESET Mobile Security for Android or ESET Cyber Security Pro, the only antivirus software for Mac that is recommended by CHOICE. To learn more about these powerful antivirus and antimalware applications, get in touch with ESET today!