The EU's security agency says that as new and improved technology finds its way onto smart phones, the threat of such mobile devices being hacked and targeted is increasing, with the potential impacts of these hacks far greater than losing a few holiday pictures.
"The risk of mobile malware is real: hackers can steal money and sensitive information, use these devices as bots and even spy on your activities. Unfortunately, most people have not realized the importance of protecting their mobile devices from such attacks," a Europol statement said as part of a campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of cyber attacks on mobile devices.
The growing threat of mobile malware has risen dramatically in recent times, with Europol's Internet Organized Crime Threat Assessment for 2016 showing that such attacks on mobile devices had featured in crime investigations in 14 member states.
"This is a clear indication that mobile malware is finally breaking into the public domain with regards to both the reporting and subsequent criminal investigation of mobile malware attacks," a Europol statement said.
And while the recent WikiLeaks-released documents relating to the US Democratic party and Hillary Clinton's presidential bid might have some thinking that hackers are only after governments and big businesses, EU security officials have warned that smart phones and tablets can be hacked simply by downloading dodgy apps or jumping on insecure Wi-Fi connections.
So in order to make sure those holiday selfies aren't stolen or your online bank details hacked, Europol has set out some guidelines to avoid ending up the on the receiving end of a mobile malware attack:
- Install apps from trusted sources only
- Don't click on links or attachments in unsolicited emails or text messages
- Log out of sites after you have made a payment
- Keep your operating system and apps updated
- Turn off Wi-Fi, location services and Bluetooth when not in use
- Avoid giving out personal information
- Don't jailbreak your device
- Back up your data
- Install a mobile security app