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We spend so much time on our mobile devices and smartphones that they are becoming a key target for malicious attack. There are so many different types of security risk to your smartphone. Below we outline 10 of these and what they mean to you and your device security.

Adware

Device Security - Adware

Device Security - Adware

Adware contain malicious embedded code, that collects data from your device without your consent, including what sites you visit.

It then displays unwanted Display Ads, and can direct you to unwanted sites, in some cases to install malware.

App Dropper

Device Security - App Dropper

Device Security - App Dropper

App dropper applications can download additional apps and software on to your device without your knowledge or consent.

These apps can include malware.  They can bloat your battery and in recent cases have been used for crypto-currency mining.  The apps can also collect personal information from your device.

 

Bot

Device Security - Bot

Device Security - Bot

A bot or 'Zombie' can add features to your device and allow it to be controlled by a third party.

In most cases these bots can have access to all your device features, such as access to your contact list, make calls, send SMS messages and download additional software or malware.

Chargeware

Device Security - Chargeware

Device Security - Chargeware

Chargeware apps add unauthorised charges to your phone bill without your consent.

They can dial or send messages to premium rate numbers. 

Click Fraud

Device Security - Click Fraud

Device Security - Click Fraud

Click fraud is a type of malware that automatically clicks on pay-per-click (ppc) or pay per download Adverts without your knowledge. 

These apps can download other unwanted apps to your device and you may incur additional data usages and charges.

Exploit

Device Security - Exploit

Device Security - Exploit

Exploits are basically vulnerabilities in your device's operating system that have either yet to be discovered or you have not updated or patched your device.

If you device is exploited it's control can be taken over and it can perform unwanted functions and other malicious activities. 

Riskware

Device Security - Riskware

Device Security - Riskware

Riskware, its self is not particular malicious. Basically if there is a known vulnerability or weakness in some other part of your device.

Riskware can be used as a platform to launch other unwanted malicious activities, weaken the devices security and collect personal information. 

Root Enabler

Device Security - Root Enabler

Device Security - Root Enabler

Rooting (in Android terms) or (jailbreaking in Apple terms) allows you root access to the devices operating system.

This typically allows someone to perform updates to the device or add software to the device that the manufacturer would not recommend.

A root enabler is a type of app that roots or jailbreaks your device without your knowledge.  

Spam

Device Security - Spam

Device Security - Spam

Spam apps can make calls, send sms messages and emails from your device without your knowledge.

It can be bad for your reputation, as well as inuring extra data usage and costs.  You may also be blocked from legitimate services due to this unwanted activity. eg your IP could be blacklisted.

Spyware

Device Security - Spyware

Device Security - Spyware

Spyware apps secretly collect your personal information, your browsing history, location, messages, key strokes, usernames & passwords and then send them to a third party.

Spyware, pretty much can take control of your device, but more importantly a third party has all your personal information and logins, so there is a big risk of fraud.

Surveillance-ware

Device Security - Surveillance-ware

Device Security - Surveillance-ware

Surveillance-ware is a much more intrusive type of spyware, with a lot more control over the device, including camera, mic etc.

Its typically physically installed on a rooted or jailbroken phone.

Toll Fraud

Device Security - Toll Fraud

Device Security - Toll Fraud

Toll Fraud is were an unauthorised application sends premium SMS messages, reverse billing messages or makes calls to premium rate numbers without your knowledge.

With some premium services costing several pounds, it won't take long to incur large mobile bills including increased data usage.

  

Trojans

Device Security - Trojans

Device Security - Trojans

Trojans, (as in the horse) have been around since 1200BC. In modern (digital) terms its an App that portrays to do one thing but in fact is doing something different.

For example you may install an innocent calculator app, but in fact is collecting your personal information and exploiting your device.

Mobile Security Advice

Mobile Security

Its best to ensure your mobile devices and smartphones have the most up to date operating system installed. Review your security settings and installed Apps, and consider installing a mobile device security application that should protect your device and you.

 

About the author

Nigel Brown

Nigel Brown is the technical director at dotRetailer.com, with over 20 years of industry knowledge and practical experience with a particular interest in eCommerce, Web Security & Azure Cloud technology.   

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