Mobile Malware

Public awareness and prevention
How-to guide

This How-to guide is about Cybercrime

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Mobile devices have rapidly replaced the personal computer at home and in the workplace. Our phones or tablets are in fact mini-computers, and should be protected as such. They face the same or even more threats than a PC or a laptop.

We rely on smartphones and tablets for everything internet-related in our lives. We communicate, socialise, work, store pictures and contacts, store personal and professional information on them, but also use them for web surfing, online shopping and banking.

What is mobile malware?

Mobile malware is malicious software which targets mobile devices.

The world’s projected population by 2020 is 7.8 billion people. By then, the expectation is to have 11.6 billion mobile-connected devices, more than 1 device per person. As a result of our increasing reliance on mobile devices, cybercriminals see them as a great opportunity to get their hands on our information and money, or to just do harm. With this in mind, they develop a number of threats specially designed to work on mobile platforms.

What are the risks?

You could…

  • lose your money
  • lose your identity
  • lose your private information
  • expose your company data
  • if your device ceases to function, you could also lose all the data saved on it, including personal photos, contacts and emails.

All operating systems are at risk of infection.

What are the main threats?

As a mobile user, you need to learn how to protect yourself from a variety of threats. Here are the main ones to consider, click on the links to learn more (infographics in PDF format):

How to protect oneself?

European Cyber Security Month

Cyber Security is a Shared Responsibility

Click on a country to access the educational material in the national language(s):

Belgium (NL) (FR)
Czech Republic
Luxembourg (EN) (FR) (DE)
Malta (EN)
Slovak Republic
United Kingdom
Ukraine (UKR) (RU)

Install apps from trusted sources only

  • Before downloading an app, research both the app and its publishers. Check other users’ reviews and ratings if available.
  • Be cautious of links you receive in email and text messages that might trick you into installing apps from third party or unknown sources.
  • Always carefully read the app’s permissions in advance.

Don’t click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages

  • Delete them as soon as you receive them.
  • Double-check shortened URLs and QR codes, they could lead to harmful websites or directly download malware to your device.

Log out of sites after you have made a payment

  • Never save usernames and passwords in your mobile browser or apps. Once the transaction is completed, log out of the site instead of just closing the browser.
  • Don’t bank or shop online using public Wi-Fi connections.
  • Double-check the site URL — Ensure that the web address is correct before logging in or sending sensitive information. Consider downloading your bank’s official app.

Keep your operating system and apps updated

  • Download software updates for your mobile device’s operating system as soon as you are prompted.

Turn off Wi-Fi, location services and Bluetooth when not in use

  • Cybercriminals can access your information if the connection is not secure.
  • Don’t allow apps to use your location services unless they need to.
  • Ensure your Bluetooth is turned off completely and not just on invisible mode.

Avoid giving out personal information

  • Never send your personal information in response to text messages or emails claiming to be from your bank or another legitimate business.
  • Regularly review your mobile statements to check for any suspicious charges.

Don’t jailbreak your device

  • Jailbreaking can significantly weaken its security, opening security holes that may not have been readily apparent.

Back up your data

  • Consult the options depending on your device’s operating system. By creating a backup for your smartphone or tablet, you can easily restore your personal data if the device is ever lost, stolen or damaged.

Install a mobile security app

  • If available, use a mobile security solution that detects and prevents malware, spyware and malicious apps, alongside other privacy and anti-theft features.

Download our information brochures:

 Private users  
Tips & Advice (Private Users) Tips & Advices (Businesses)

Or Check our infographics

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