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The Four Mobile Security Threats You Need to Know About

“Florals for Spring, groundbreaking.” There are some movie quotes that continue to resonate as much as the line delivered by Meryl Streep’s character in the modern classic “The Devil Wears Prada”. The line sparked memes galore, pushed fun at the showy culture surrounding fashion, and challenged the pressure our society places on keeping up with cool. Cyber-criminals are all about keeping up with trends—no, not ski masks and gloves—but hacking the latest tech trends.

One of the hackers’ favorite accessories is one of ours, too: That's the mobile device. These handy gadgets are constantly by our sides and in our handbags, so it’s very natural that they are one of the prominent targets for hackers. Partner our dependence on these devices with the general lack of education about mobile security, and you’ve got a recipe for trouble. We hear about threats on the news and in our feeds, but as they proceed to grow, it’s hard to keep up.

Here’s our list of the four mobile security trends you need to know about this season:

Trust No App

Who doesn’t love apps? There’s an app that informs you accurately how far away the train is, where your kids are, or how to translate a menu. If you’re like me, you apparently have a handful of apps on your devices, some of which haven’t been touched in months or even years. When it comes to mobile apps, they’re not all our buddies. Among the good guys are lots of bad guys, waiting for you to hit ‘download’ so that they can drive into your device and go wild, comprising stealing your personal information, conducting financial transactions, and loading viruses. Nobody likes any of those things. So be careful with your downloads, delete unused apps, and always read the security agreements.

Must read: How Ethical Hackers club operates.

Watch Out for Bad Guys

Watch Out for Bad Guys Remember when you were a kid and you’d lose your shoe (just one) or a textbook? Mom always came to the rescue to help save the day. Today, there’s something even scarier than losing your text. Your mobile device is your wallet, alarm clock, and email and everything tech enclosed into one. Everybody fears the moment when you check your pockets and bag, watching for your device and come up empty. Aside from the cash you spent on your device, it’s actually your data that you actually lose. Device theft is a developing trend, one used to make extra cash and even to gain access to personal data. To keep your device safe if it lands in the wrong hands, lock it with a PIN, and always, right - always, back up your data.

Must read: Get Smarter About Phones and Homework Time

Connect to Wi-Fi with Caution

Restaurants have signs on their windows that state “Free Wi-Fi” and malls and hotels automatically prompt you to log on. As we become frequently connected, easy-to-access Wi-Fi is almost a guarantee. As attractive as it can be to join a network named “Free, Fast Internet,” on your mobile device if it sounds too good to be true, it apparently is. Connecting to an unsecured Wi-Fi network leaves your device vulnerable to hackers, and everything included within it. Places like airports and convention centers often have public Wi-Fi which can be secured—score! But for every secure network, a knockoff created by hackers is assured to follow. There are many steps you can take to surf the public web without asking to get hacked, including paying for private access and double-checking security.

Must read: Stop Using Open Wi-Fi you can get Hacked.

Throw It in the Cloud

Just a few years ago, “clouds” were those big, fuzzy objects floating in the sky. Today, the network of servers that we refer to as the cloud is omnipresent. We rely on the cloud storage to save our data, backup our contacts (don’t wait until you drop your phone to do this), and communicate with coworkers. As we’ve become frequently reliant on the cloud’s advantages, do you ever stop and wonder if there’s a guard holding your information safe in the cloud? A recent Intel Security survey found that “some 40 percent of cloud storage are failing to guard files.” If this number makes you annoyed, it should. We trust the cloud with our most private details, from personal to professional, and a strong security is required to hold that data, and your device, safe. To do so, only use cloud providers which you trust, read their privacy agreement, and think before you share.

Taking the precautions listed above can help to keep your device protected, but comprehensive mobile security takes some of the load off. McAfee® Mobile Security, free for both Android and iOS, helps to protect your device, your data, and your privacy.

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