Mobile Device Security Risks

Mobile devices like tablets and smart phones have become practically indispensable tools for functioning in the modern world. We’ve become used to having access to our various accounts and vast amounts of information about anything we might want to know anytime, anywhere. This convenience and constant connectedness, however, comes with a price. The more we rely on our mobile devices, the more vulnerable to security risks our private information becomes. As more and more employees access work programs via personal mobile devices, those risks increasingly threaten the security of their employers’ internal systems.

In this article, we’ll discuss some of the largest security risks that plague mobile devices and tips for keeping devices as secure as possible. Put these tips into practice on your personal and business devices, and train your employees to do the same. Implementing regular security awareness training is one of the most powerful ways you can strengthen your organization’s cybersecurity position.


Unsecured Wi-Fi Networks

Public Wi-Fi can be incredibly convenient, but it is also a major security risk. Hackers can use unsecured networks to steal users’ information or install malware on connected devices. A recent Forbes poll found that 43% of respondents had experienced a security breach while using public Wi-Fi. If you’re going to use a public network, make sure it’s password protected and uses encryption or use a VPN. Businesses can best protect their internal systems by requiring employees to use a properly configured VPN anytime they access company systems remotely.


Data Leaks from Apps

The various apps that we download to make our lives easier collect an assortment of information from us. Some apps ask for more personal information than others, and many gather much more information from your device than you might know or suspect. Unfortunately, it’s simply not feasible to read the (perhaps intentionally) long and complex terms and conditions of each app you download. As a result, it’s important to research the security reputation of the apps you use. Several commonly used apps are notorious security risks.


In addition to the information that apps directly collect, they can also have security vulnerabilities that hackers can exploit to download malware onto users’ devices. This is especially concerning for business owners whose employees often use personal devices to connect to internal systems, which could be compromised as a result. To protect your business, create cybersecurity policies that limit what apps your employees may download onto devices that they used to access work programs.



Phishing scams are becoming both more prevalent and more sophisticated. With the rise of mobile use, scammers are reaching out to targets in more ways, including voicemail and text. A 2022 study by Verizon found that 82% of data breaches involved a human element such as stolen credentials or social engineering. Look closely at any email, text message, or other communication that asks you to take immediate action, especially if it asks you to click a link or visit an unfamiliar website. Anytime payment or sensitive information is requested, be sure to verify the sender’s identity before complying. Familiarize yourself with ways to spot phishing attempts, and make sure your employees know what to look out for, too.


Weak Passwords

Weak passwords can make it easy for hackers to get into both personal and business accounts. Passwords can be weak because they’re incredibly common (like Password or 12345, for example), because they contain personal information like birthdates or names of family members or pets, or because they’ve been used before. Create passwords that contain a combination of numbers, letters, and symbols (if allowed), and use phrases rather than single words to make them harder to guess.


Stolen Credentials

Data breaches are so common that you must assume at least some of your passwords will end up on the dark web sooner or later. Recent data analysis by Zippia determined that cyberattacks occur every 39 seconds, resulting in 30,000 hacked websites per day. As a result, it’s important not only to select strong passwords but to change them regularly. Additionally, avoid sharing passwords with others; if you find it necessary to do so, change your password promptly afterward. Enabling two-factor or multifactor authentication provides an additional layer of security. It’s strongly advised to require additional authentication from employees when they access work systems from mobile devices.


Outdated Software

Keeping your software up to date helps protect your devices by installing the latest security upgrades. As companies learn about how their products are being compromised, they make updates to prevent similar attacks from succeeding in the future. The longer you wait to update apps and other software, the more vulnerable your device becomes to cyber threats.


Mobile devices are no longer optional; they’re a business necessity. By following the tips above, you can minimize the security risks posed by your and your employees’ mobile device usage. Pendello is an experienced provider of managed IT services for small and medium sized businesses. To learn more about keeping your business data secure, see our free resource library.