android security issues 2019
PUREVPNPrivacy & SecurityTop Android Security Issues in 2019

A decade or so ago, cybercriminals primarily targeted laptops and desktops. Times have definitely changed now, though. Today, the bad guys are focusing their attacks on tablets and smartphones more often.

It shouldn’t really come as a surprise considering more and more people are using their mobile devices for conducting banking activities, staying connected through social media, and making online purchases, etc.

Android is one of the most popular OS in the mobile world, but it’s also under constant attack. Zero-day vulnerabilities still pop up, and many mobile manufacturers don’t issue monthly Android updates on time.

Below, we’ll take a look at six of the most significant Android security issues in 2019 and how to stay protected against them:

6 Android Security Problems to Watch Out For

1.    Application-Focused Threats

Attacks based on instant messaging or music apps are a clear indicator of how the cyber threat landscape has changed from computers to mobile devices. Any application that allows links to be sent can be leveraged by malicious actors to create complex social engineering attacks, convincing users to give out their credentials and other sensitive information.

Moreover, viruses, worms, Trojans, and other malware can be hidden in innocent-looking apps and you can infect your Android device upon installing them.

2.    Cryptojacking

Since mobile devices have less computing power than desktops, they have traditionally been regarded as a less appealing target for cryptojacking. However, in-browser miners have flipped the script completely. As the name implies, these are implemented into web pages and mine cryptocurrency in the background during a user’s browsing sessions.

Some signs indicate your Android device is cryptojacked, such as slower performance, battery drain, crashes, etc.

3.    Man-in-the-Middle Attacks

If you rely on public Wi-Fi to stay connected on the go, you can fall victim to Man-in-the-middle (MITM) attacks. These occur when a perpetrator secretly intercepts the communications between your device and a website to either modify or eavesdrop traffic. As a result, the security of your personal data can get compromised.

Given that mobile users tend to connect to these open networks so often, MITM attacks are one of the most common attacks they can encounter.

Pro Tip: Connect to our Android VPN app to use public Wi-Fi networks safely!

4.    Malvertising

Little malware is spread via apps available on the Google Play Store, but malvertisements are a profound threat. In simple terms, it’s when online advertising is used as a medium to deliver malware to a victim’s mobile device. Hackers have been using malvertising for at least a decade now, but the trend has seen a rise in recent times.

According to RiskIQ, 2017 saw a whopping 132.6% increase in malvertising as compared to 2015. Let’s face it; those are some troubling numbers.

5.    Phishing

Phishing has been around for as long as we can remember, and fraudsters are increasingly using it as a method to get their hands on sensitive information of users. They’re continuously coming up with new tricks to get unwary people to click on malicious attachments or links and download dangerous Android malware.

This enables the attackers to stealthily access information on a user’s mobile device like audio recordings, text messages, call records, and more.

6.    Component-Based Threats

There are some components and software in your mobile devices – such as Bluetooth or Wi-Fi for example – which provide bad actors with the opportunity to use close proximity to the device as a means to exploit their targets.

They can remotely gain access to your mobile device and use it to send text messages and place calls. In fact, malware can also be installed without you knowing about it.

How to Improve Security on Android?

As Android devices improve and our use of them at home or in the workplace grows, the number and quality of cyber threats will grow as well. Therefore, here are some important tips that will help you ensure Android security:

  • Always Download Secure Apps: Undoubtedly, the easiest point of entry for malware is the apps you download and use. So, always verify whether or not an app is trustworthy by checking its user reviews and only download apps from reliable sources like the Google Play Store.

 

  • Install an Android VPN: A VPN will secure all your traffic from end-to-end using military-grade encryption. This makes it close to impossible for your data to be intercepted on public networks by cyber thieves – even if they manage to, all they’d be able to see is gibberish!

 

  • Use a Cryptojacking Blocker: While blocking JavaScript in your browser is a great way to avoid cryptojacking, it’ll cause many websites not to work properly. That’s why you’re better off using programs like No Coin to prevent mining activities on your browser without your consent.

 

  • Enable Click-to-Play Plugins on Your Browser: Most malvertising relies on exploiting plugins such as Java or Flash, so enabling click-to-play plugins will keep them from running unless you tell them to.

 

  • Download an Anti-Virus: Google Play Protect does a reasonable job when it comes to safeguarding your mobile device, but you’d want to install a reliable anti-virus program for an additional layer of protection.

 

  • Disable Wireless Connections When Not in Use: Never keep your Bluetooth or Wi-Fi turned on if you’re not using it. As mentioned above, these connections can be exploited to gain control over your mobile device.

 

  • Be Wary of Suspicious Links and Attachments: Exercise caution with links and attachments sent to you from unknown sources. Additionally, never hand over your personal information if you’re unsure about the website you’re visiting.

Wrapping Things Up

And that’s all! Now that you’re aware of the most common Android security issues and prevention methods, the next step is to put our advice into practice so that you can use your mobile device with at least some peace of mind.

author

Haris Shahid

date

June 20, 2023

time

1 year ago

Haris Shahid has a genuine passion in covering the latest happenings in the cyber security, privacy, and digital landscape. He likes getting out and about, but mostly ends up spending too much of his time behind a computer keyboard. He tweets at @harisshahid01

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