Mobile devices like tablets and smartphones have had a major impact on the world as we know it in recent years. Nowadays most consumers are but a reach into their pocket away from grabbing the one piece of technology they use daily, if not hourly to stay in contact with work, family and loved ones.
With massive mobile adoption worldwide, the industry has placed a target on its own back for the next place for hackers to target, as users have replaced laptops with tablets, and most are going online from the comfort and portability of their phones to make purchases and do their daily business.
No one is really safe
Mobile technology is fairly similar to that of being on your computer, what with your applications sending out requests to login to secure sites with credentials that you would use via your laptop or desktop. These environments are generally quite secure, due to their walled garden nature, but it does not mean they are safer.
Hackers are aiming around 98% of mobile attacks at Android devices, mostly due to the massive market share the operating system has worldwide, but also due to the fact that they are more susceptible to malware. This is on two fronts, one being that Android devices are more likely to be tampered with by their users, due to the ease of customising the devices and to some point the OS to your needs (rooting of the device is very popular, allowing for customised software to be installed), and also the fact that the Google Play store allows basically every Tom, Dick and Harry who can program to upload their applications directly to the marketplace, without any form of review process.
Apps which are deemed to be malware, are generally reported by users worldwide, before action is taken against them, meaning it may be too late and you have had your contact list stolen or emails read before you even know what has happened.
It is not always greener on the other side
The powerhouse that is Apple who take pride in their operating system and device security also are not safe from glitches. Just recently the company had egg on their face for a flaw, which saw possible access from hackers to encrypted information unless an update was run to upgrade your operating system with a relevant hotfix that closed the security hole.
The reason this is such a major issue, is that mobile devices are under the spotlight, so vulnerabilities are being seen as more of an issue due to the global market using mostly mobile devices to do their day-to-day tasks online.
The future is now, so protect yourself
More and more users are adopting mobile, which means more money is being not only spent via mobile transactions, but also revenue is being generated from these devices be it via ad serving or in-app purchases within applications, meaning this is where the money is. More and more users are changing to electronic methods of payments via sites like Paypal and electronic wallets, and hackers are seeing the rise in mobile usage, so therefore are changing with the markets themselves and varying their tactics.
Users of tablet can improve their mobile security by downloading protection software for their device. Of course mobile devices can be slightly more secure, but as long as your phone or tablet is connecting to the Internet via Wi-Fi or mobile data, there is always the threat that valuable information may be gleamed and used against you, be it your credit card details, or just personal information to try to gain access to your mailbox, as long as this information is being used somewhere by yourself to be sent to some server, there is always a chance someone may be able to grab the information.
By Sam Wright
Sam Wright is a business and technology journalist from Norwich, UK.