Mobile Security: Suggested Security Practices for Malware Threats.

Author:Wibowo, Kustim
 
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INTRODUCTION

The major reason for the importance of mobile systems is the size of their market. In 2014, there were seven billion wireless subscriptions and the worldwide mobile subscriptions outnumbered fixed lines by seven to one (Kroenke & Boyle, 2015). In addition to the increase in numbers, more and more activities can be performed using mobile technology. Examples of such activities include personal communication with friends and family via telephone, text messaging, or engaging with others through social media platforms, such as Facebook, WhatApp, or Twitter. Another example may include managing business activities, such as checking bank accounts (Kjaer, 2014). In some other countries, like China, mobile Web usage is much greater than using personal computers to access the web. With so much data exchanged over mobile systems, mobile devices have become an immediate target for malicious activities such as mobile device hack and identity thieves. The potential for individual identity or financial information stolen and potential destructive threats causing concern for harmful wireless software is known as "mobile malware."

This research investigates various practices to safeguard data from mobile malware programs and what these programs are capable of doing to a user's mobile device. According to Peters (Peters, 2014), these programs are capable of inflicting significant damage on users' data; thus this issue will be investigated in this study. The paper also discusses what we, as mobile device users, can do to protect ourselves and limit mobile device risks. It explores programs that are available to detect and eliminate mobile malware, along with the best practices to use to avoid potential harm caused by mobile malware. Last, the paper researches what businesses need to take into consideration in regards to mobile device usage and how these businesses can limit their risks and protect themselves from the harmful effects of mobile malware.

Mobile Technology: Uses and Data

Mobile technology is a broad term used to describe cellular smartphones, as well as other devices. Smartphone sales represented two-thirds of global phone market in 2014 (Goasduff & Rivera, 2015). Worldwide sales of smartphones to end users in the fourth quarter of 2014 increased by 29.9 percent, as compared to the fourth quarter of 2013, to reach 367.5 million units.

Big names in the mobile market have switched places in terms of ranking their sales. Samsung, for example, lost the number one spot to Apple in the global smartphone market in the fourth quarter of 2014 (see Table 1). Samsung has been in the top spot since 2012 (Goasduff & Rivera, 2015). Table 1 below shows the worldwide sales of smart phones to end users in the fourth quarter of 2014.

The growth of smart phone sales has been levelling off in developed markets like the U.S. and Europe. It is predicted that by 2020, globally there will be 6.1billions smartphone users led by huge growths in less mature markets (Kroenke & Boyle, 2015). The same reference estimated that smartphone subscriptions numbers will overtake the number of active fixed line subscriptions worldwide in 2020.

It is expected that this growth in mobile phone will take place more notably in emerging markets. Ericsson predicts that regions like Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and Africa will account for 80 percent of all new subscriptions in the next five years (Ericsson, 2015). In Quarter 1 of 2015, the top five countries by net additions were India, China, Myanmar, Indonesia, and Japan. They saw the most net adds of the 108 million new subscriptions around the world in that period (Lunden, 2015).

Our modern society depends on the use of mobile technology and over half of the United States population owns a smartphone. Stern (2013), of ABC News, reports on a study that states that "61% of Americans own a smartphone." "May 2011 indicate[d] that only 35% of Americans" were smartphone users, and by February of 2012 that number grew to 46%. In the spring of 2015, nearly two-thirds of Americans were now smartphone owners and, for many, these devices are a key entry point to the online world. Currently, 64% of American adults own a smartphone of some kind, up from 35% in spring 2011. Smartphone ownership is especially high among younger Americans, as well as those with relatively high incomes and education levels (Smith, 2015).

Smartphone Usage

A smartphone is capable of doing practically everything that a computer can do, and it is portable enough for an individual to keep on their person at all times. According to Kjaer (2014), "Beyond digital platforms for the transfer of money, goods and services, smartphones are an enabler of education, information, work, health social participation and more sustainable solutions."

In the U.S., users are turning to these mobile devices as they navigate to look for data for a wide range of life events. Smith (2015) compiled statistics about some of these events. We list some of these statistics below:

* 62% of smartphone owners have used their phone in the past year to look up information about a health condition.

* 57% have used their phone to do online banking. 44% have used their phone to look up real estate listings or other information about a place to live.

* 43% to look for information about a job.

* 40% to look up government services or information. 30% to take a class or get educational content.

* 18% to submit a job application.

Mobile technology is an ever-changing and amazingly useful technological advancement of our modern-day society. Using mobile technology enables users to view, manipulate, and store data practically everywhere they go. With so much data readily available to everyone, and everywhere, it is no wonder that mobile devices have become a major target for hackers and identity thieves. The potential for identity or financial information stolen and the potential threats it produces are strong enough to cause concern, and calls for a deep understanding of mobile malware.

When an individual is dealing with mobile technology, malware is definitely a potential threat. Mobile malware is a threat that grows and evolves...

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