With work from home and social distancing becoming the new normal during the COVID-19 crisis, businesses have turned to mobile apps to meet the needs of their customers. Businesses, both large and small, are now introducing new mobile apps, or more heavily promoting existing ones. With the rise in mobile app downloads throughout the United States, companies need to make sure their apps are secure – to protect their own business, as well as their customers.
As cyberattacks increase on a global level, it is crucial to pay attention to mobile security. If you don’t take the necessary precautions, your company can suffer loss of data, revenue and – of course – reputation.
This is why it is vital to develop a smart strategy for mobile security. Let us, therefore, take you through how apps have surged during COVID-19, why mobile security is crucial, and some ways to keep your business safe.
Apps have surged during COVID-19
Having a mobile app to serve your customers better is a smart strategy that has paid rich dividends during the COVID-19 pandemic. As more and more people in the U.S. began sheltering in place, demand for home deliveries, video conferencing, in-home entertainment, and telework collaboration tools have seen a steep rise.
No wonder that apps have surged during the COVID-19 pandemic – as evidenced by the following statistics.
- According to a mobile marketing analytic company, AppsFlyer, there has been a 36% increase in global consumer spending in apps from mid-March to early May, while the U.S. use of shopping apps rose to 45%.
- With work from home on the rise during Q1 of 2020, business app installs surged 70% globally. As compared to last year, user sessions also increased by 105%.
- According to venturebeat.com, installations of entertainment apps like streaming services have jumped sharply by 132%, and food and drink app installs rose by 21%.
The mobile app categories that have increased in popularity due to COVID-19
Shopping apps – Most supermarkets, specialty markets and major retailers offer shopping and in-store/curbside pickup or home delivery.
Banking and finance apps – While banking and finance apps were increasing in popularity before the pandemic, they are now even more so. Users eliminate the risk of exposure incurred when banking in person. Also, most physical bank locations now have reduced hours, making them less convenient to visit even when a customer wants to bank in person. According to App Annie, the use of finance apps increased by 55% from December 2019 to April 2020.
A J.D. Power survey found that 36% of customers plan to continue using mobile and online banking tools. 20% of those surveyed plan to minimize their visits to the branches, and 18% plan to cut down their visits to the ATM.
Health and fitness apps – When gyms were closed during the first phase of lockdown, health-conscious people turned to fitness apps to keep their workout going. A few of the fitness apps have upgraded their services to meet consumer needs. According to Forbes, downloads for the Tone It Up fitness app increased by 95% during the quarantine.
Collaboration apps – With remote working and school instruction on the rise, demand for video conferencing and collaboration apps such as Zoom, Microsoft Teams and Google Meet has skyrocketed. People also use these apps to stay in touch with each other to combat isolation.
Mobile security is crucial
With cyber threats on the rise, technology providers need to do everything they can to protect customers. Mobile security is crucial because mobile devices are even more susceptible to cyberattacks than desktop computers. Mobile technology evolves at a rapid pace. That is why it is crucial to keep evaluating its security preparedness. Built-in mobile protections are not always sufficient to mitigate the security challenges of mobile devices.
The security threats to mobile devices have seen a significant jump in recent years. In 2014, Kaspersky discovered around 3.5 million pieces of malware on over one million user devices. However, the figure rose to 360,000 malicious files per day by 2017. Of those, 78% of files were malware programs, which means more than 280,000 malware files were detected every day.
Here are the top mobile security cyber threats that you need to watch out for in 2020:
Spyware – Companies in certain industries are at high risk for industrial espionage by competitors after proprietary information. Employing a comprehensive anti-malware and virus solution will help protect mobile devices.
Phishing attacks – Because most people leave their smartphone on, they can be vulnerable to phishing attacks in which scammers target individuals by sending a malicious link with a mail or text message that takes control of your device when you open it. That is why it is advisable not to open links from unknown sources. Even if it has the email address and name of someone you know, always contact that person to confirm that the email is legitimate.
Data leak – As Cybersecurity Insiders notes, “Many users tend to download apps and games from unknown resources which can not only infect their devices with malware but can also lead to data leakage. So, to avoid any such risks, make sure that you keep a note of permissions your downloaded apps are taking and better download such apps from trusted resources like Google Play Store.”
Unsecured Wi-Fi – Public Wi-Fi connections are not secure. Hackers can access such personal information as banking details and other sensitive data. Only use secure connections. Our blog post – “Is It Safe to Use Open Public Wi-Fi Hotspots?” examines this issue in greater detail.
Network spoofing – Hackers can fool you in many ways. They often set up fake access points that resemble legitimate accounts in high-traffic public locations such as coffee shops, libraries and airports. As Kaspersky reports, cybercriminals give the access points common names like “Free Airport Wi-Fi” or “Coffeehouse” to encourage users to connect.
“In some cases, attackers require users to create an “account” to access these free services, complete with a password. Because many users employ the same email and password combination for multiple services, hackers are then able to compromise users’ email, e-commerce and other secure information. In addition to using caution when connecting to any free Wi-Fi, never provide personal information. And whenever you are asked to create a login, whether for Wi-Fi or any application, always create a unique password.”
Some ways to keep safe
Exercising caution at all times is the best way to prevent falling victim to a security breach. Take these basic steps to keep safe.
Make sure you keep your security software updated – If you want to avoid vulnerabilities, it is crucial to keep your mobile software and operating system up-to-date.
Use antivirus software – Authenticated antivirus software protects your mobile device from viruses, malware, spyware, botnets and ransomware – and also informs you if the device has been breached.
Deleting apps that you don’t use – There is no point in keeping apps you no longer use. Take some time to “houseclean” and delete old apps.
Use strong passwords – Make sure you use strong passwords to open your mobile device. If you have a strong password, it can keep your device safe from unauthorized usage. Also, if your device gets stolen, a strong password can keep your data safe. It is also advisable to use biometrics locks on your device.
Use security and privacy settings – Always use security and privacy settings on websites and applications to set the parameters of information and data that they can access.
Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth – It is always advisable to disable your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when you are not using them because scammers can use them to track your movements.
Device tracking application – Mobile devices come with a tracking system. When you turn it on, you can track your device remotely. In case of theft, you can delete the data from your device so that no one else can access it.
We can help your business meet today’s mobile security challenges
DocuServe is a cloud-based digital data protection company providing services that include cloud-based document management, content encryption and distribution, and digital media replication and encryption to businesses in every industry. Contact us today to learn about our full range of solutions.