What Is Mobile Data Security? An Essential Primer

With advancements in technology and mobile devices, people can now accomplish various tasks while on the go. Regardless of their location, people stay connected via the internet. Even employees now use their mobile devices to work remotely. But this high usage of mobile data is catching the attention of hackers who are trying to swoop in and steal information.

As a result, it raises security concerns for both firms and individual users of mobile data. Since you can take mobile devices anywhere, it increases the chance of unwanted elements accessing the devices. This makes the security of mobile data challenging. In this post, we’re going to understand what mobile data security is. Then, we’ll move on to why it’s important to protect mobile data. And of course, we’ll look at some tips to enhance mobile data security. So, let’s dive in.

What Is Mobile Data Security?

Mobile data security is a series of protocols and encryption techniques that aim to keep your data safe. The focus is on protecting the personal and business information stored in mobile devices from unauthorized access. Not only that, mobile data security also includes identifying threats and securing networks.

Why Is Mobile Data Security Important?

With a drastic increase in mobile usage, cyberthreats have been on the rise. Even though mobile technology has solved many customer problems, it has exposed us to various risks. Cybercriminals are adamant about implementing various attack schemes against popular mobile platforms. Let’s discuss why we need mobile data security.

Lack of Awareness About Data Security

Unfortunately, not all users of mobile devices are tech-savvy. Most users lack the awareness to secure mobile data and are at a higher risk of security breaches. In fact, some customers make common blunders that can further make their devices even more vulnerable. For instance, passionate gamers jailbreak for cheat codes. They also download risky versions of apps from unknown third-party sources. Such apps can infect the device with malware.

Lack of user awareness makes mobile devices a favorite platform for hackers. Mobile devices are even surpassing PCs as the devices we most commonly use. Customers make transactions all the time with their smartphones. With the rise of digitalization in the banking sector, the cashless economy is witnessing huge growth. As a result, more people are switching to using mobile wallets and UPI apps for making payments. This further calls for strict measures to protect sensitive data.

Valuable Company Data at Risk

Many employees use their personal devices to do their office work while working remotely. This makes the company data vulnerable and risks the destruction of an entire business. If the company credentials fall into the wrong hands, the entire enterprise can suffer dire outcomes. So, now do you realize how deep the effects of failing to acknowledge mobile data security can be?

But worry not. In the next section, we’ll discuss some tips that will help you keep your mobile data safe.

Tips to Protect Mobile Data

Practically speaking, you can’t let the risk scare you off from using mobile devices. It’s true that maintaining data security on mobile is a big challenge. But if you’re traveling for work, don’t you think staying connected to your team becomes even more important?

In today’s world, you can never avoid storing important information on your mobile devices. But you have to zip across the grid and still keep your data protected. Even though mobile security isn’t a piece of cake, the idea is to leave no stones unturned in following strict security measures. On that note, let’s take a look at some tips to protect mobile data.

1. Stay Alert While Using Wi-Fi

Staying alert with the use of Wi-Fi is a small precaution that can help prevent a lot of damage. This is the first step toward establishing mobile data security. If you’re using a public Wi-Fi, you may sometimes see an alert that says it’s an unsecured connection. However, most users tend to ignore this message. This is one of the most common ways mobile users are falling victim to eavesdropping by hackers. Attackers can hijack and intercept data transmissions. Moreover, users can fall prey to spoofing and revealing confidential information.

There’s no shortage of fake hot spots disguised as legitimate ones. The malware and key loggers present on these can cause users to fall victim to cyberattacks. There’s age-old advice of avoiding public Wi-Fi whenever possible. It still holds true and one should use public Wi-Fi only when there is no other option. Also, if you’re not using Wi-Fi, it’s better to turn it off. This way, your phone won’t connect to random free Wi-Fi, with the chances being that the free Wi-Fi is unsafe.

2. Encrypt Data

The best way to prevent a breach of mobile data security is to make your data unreadable for intruders. They must have a key to decode the information. Even though most of the data is just sitting in a folder, unused, encrypting is a good way to put up an extra layer of protection. Better to be safe than sorry! Download an encrypting app from an approved app store.

3. Use a Trusted VPN

There are some instances where you just have to connect to public Wi-Fi. For instance, flights, hotels, and airports are some places where most users are dependent on public Wi-Fi, especially while traveling. In this case, the best way to go is to use a third-party VPN. A virtual private network encrypts your data before any third party can even see it. The data you send as well as access on your device first goes to the VPN. After that, it goes to an online destination.

Since this system routes the connection privately, it keeps your information safe. A VPN also conceals all your online activities. Think of it as a security system that goes with you wherever you are! Few phones have a built-in VPN provider. If not, download a third-party VPN app from your trusted app store.

4. Avoid Public USB Charging Stations

Mostly, USB charging stations are not unsafe. However, you should keep in mind that the port you’re using to charge your phone is the same as the one you can use for transferring information. A good way to avoid any security threats is to use a personal USB cable. Be mindful of the fact that it should not carry any data. You can also opt for an electric outlet meant only for charging.

5. Disable Location Tracking on Connected Devices

Location tracking can help you identify nearby stores and other places of utility. But even though it’s a useful feature, having your location turned on can leave you vulnerable. What if you work for a bank or any high-profile financial institution? Hackers can track your location and find out a travel pattern from your daily travel route, thus leading to malpractices. For instance, maybe you’ve seen in movies how a hacker steals a person’s mobile device and clones it. Well, things like this can actually happen if a hacker knows where you’ll be at a certain time during the day. You also need to make sure that you don’t accidentally display your location on social media. You can do that by turning off the “automatic location detection” feature on Facebook or Instagram.

6. Delete Unused Apps

We often tend to overlook apps that we don’t use frequently. They just keep lying there occupying space in our phones. At the beginning of the installation, these apps ask for access to your data. Most of the time, users grant permission to access data. After that, when they don’t end up using the app, it stays idle. But, as a matter of fact, you’ve granted permission to the app to access personal data! So, it’s best to delete apps you’re no longer using.

Moreover, research an app before downloading it. Avoid downloading from third-party sources. Even if you’re using the Apple Store or Google Play, check the reviews before installing an app. Also, check the permissions an app asks for when you’re installing it. If an offline image editing app asks for access to your contact and messages, something is suspicious.

7. Use the Cloud for Information Security and Backup

If you have to store sensitive information, use the cloud instead of the device’s storage. This way, you only access such data when the need arises. It doesn’t lie on your device exposed. If a user has enterprise data on their device, malware are likely to target that. That’s why it’s helpful to create a backup in the cloud if something ends up compromising the data. Also, platforms like Google Drive or Dropbox have excellent encryption and authentication features that assure you that your data will be in safe hands.

Prevent Mobile Data From Falling Into the Wrong Hands!

Your mobile device is like a gold mine containing business and personal information. When confidential data falls into the wrong hands, it can cause massive damage. And this includes both personal losses for users and financial losses if they have company data stored on their devices. Imagine an attacker getting hands on your credit card information! Felt a chill right down your spine, didn’t you?

So, what to do? Stop using mobile devices? Of course not. In today’s fast-paced world, mobile devices have become mainstream. The best solution to this problem is to be aware and remain cautious.

If you don’t understand the importance of security measures, remember, hackers are lurking around in every corner. Stay aware of the risks and realize why layers of protection are important to reduce the vulnerability of your devices. Follow the tips mentioned above to enhance the security of your mobile data, and you’re good to go!

This post was written by Arnab Roy Chowdhury. Arnab is a UI developer by profession and a blogging enthusiast. He has strong expertise in the latest UI/UX trends, project methodologies, testing, and scripting.