Everyone is accustomed to the smartphone at this point. Many people don’t give much thought to their devices other than getting them from point A to point B, scrolling Instagram, making calls, sending texts, and taking selfies. But there is so much of our information swarming around, we may not even be aware of just how much of our personal data is accessible. There is even a term for this, called ‘Phishing,’ where cybercriminals extricate your private information by sending you a fake email or text message but camouflage this as a trustworthy source. Unfortunately, many people fall for this trap and cybercriminals are advancing even further by sneaking into your smartphone.
Mobile security platform, Lookout, recently reported that 88% of US phishing attacks targeted smartphone users in 2020 alone. The reason for this surge in phishing was due to the pandemic with many more people staying at home, connecting with loved ones, and attending meetings via mobile and desktop devices. Tom Spring, the editor-in-chief of Threatpost explains, “The type of protections that exist on Mac and Windows operating systems aren’t as mature in the mobile space,” he tells Yahoo Life. “They’re getting there but criminals are taking advantage of new opportunities as they crop up.” There are a few things you can look out for if you are suspicious of a threat, such as a sudden slower connection, low battery life, or an increase in data consumption.
Besides the scarcity of inbuilt software protection, a smartphone’s small screen also makes it more difficult to be attentive when you get a link from an email, let’s say because it doesn’t appear harmful. There is also an added element of distraction with a smartphone. You can do multiple things at once, scroll through many open apps at the same time. Spring added, “Sometimes when I get an email alert from a legitimate vendor it doesn’t always display correctly in my in-box on my mobile phone.” When you are working on your desktop or laptop, just by hovering your house over a link will show you the URL in full, so you are easily able to see anything odd and out of the ordinary, for example, and email from amzon.com as opposed to amazon.com. There are times where your smartphone won’t show you the full link, so it’s essential to be watchful. If you are unsure if you are being scammed, it’s always smarter to check your desktop or laptop to be safe.