With the last-minute Christmas shopping scramble in full effect, people are perhaps less worried about those online purchases than they should be.
Away from the “big players” such as Amazon and eBay, there’s a range of online stores that look and feel the same but may not necessarily offer the security you expect. Cybersecurity is something that just has to be considered as we’re now spending far more online, and criminals see an opportunity to profit from it. Although people are careful, it’s sometimes a little too easy to have these tricks go un-noticed.
In our previous article on the topic, we discussed five essential tips to safeguard your Smartphone. But now we’d like to get into concrete recommendations, as well as explain the exact use cases of the cybersecurity software we recommend to protect your account and your smart devices.
But before we proceed, let’s elaborate on what the current coronavirus situation is when it comes to cybersecurity.
How did the lockdown affect cybersecurity?
The relationship might not be obvious, but Covid-19 and quarantine had a direct and significant impact on cybersecurity. Earlier this year Forbes took an interview from Eric Cole who worked as a professional hacker for the CIA between ’89 and ’97.
According to Eric, there has been a huge increase in phishing attacks, with cybercriminals sending fake emails to lure users into clicking them, directing them to viruses infested pages or installing malware on their devices.
Phishing is particularly sensitive when it comes to smartphone security. It’s way easier to spot a fake email on a desktop PC, with a large monitor to notice suspicious links or inspect various attachments. On the smartphone, however, it’s harder to notice things, even grammar mistakes, which usually give away the fake email, are harder to see. You rely quite heavily on Google to do it for you if you’re a Gmail user, but if you’re getting mail from elsewhere it becomes inherently more tricky.
Another frightening statistic came from the ZDNet article, which is that brute force attacks grew by 400% and email scams by 667%. There are billions of fake Covid-19 related and malware-infected web pages, and 2000% increase in malicious files with “Zoom” in the name. All of these are geared towards the new “life” you’re living in lockdown – you’re more “open” to receiving emails about Zoom calls and perhaps reading about Covid-19 rules, so these emails are more likely to be opened without a second thought. Social engineering at its finest.
These numbers are scary. Luckily, cybersecurity experts are not sleeping around, and you can download professional software to secure your smartphone.
So let’s get into the first recommendation.
NordVPN Virtual Private Network
VPNs have been around for more than two decades, and have been growing in popularity. First and foremost, a VPN is a privacy-protection app or solution. It works by establishing a secure and encrypted tunnel between the user device and one of its servers. Then it reroutes all the data-flow through the chosen server.
VPNs are widely recommended for smartphone protection because smartphone users tend to use public Wi-Fi access a lot. These networks frequently have low-security configurations, which makes them a perfect target for cybercriminals. They can get in, track your activity and see what you’re doing online.
The additional encryption that a VPN provides ensures that you’re safe when browsing on a public Wi-Fi network, and no hacker can steal your sensitive data.
For our recommendation, we chose NordVPN, because it’s one of the most popular and highly rated VPNs in the market. It has native apps both for Android and iPhone, but what separates it from the competition is NordLynx protocol, their version of cutting-edge WireGuard protocol. It increases the speed tremendously, and NordVPN was rated as the fastest VPN around.
In addition, they’re upgrading their servers to 10Gb switches, enhancing the speed and throughput of your VPN experience.
NordPass password manager
Another service coming from the guys that made NordVPN goes very well with the whole security topic. We’ve recommended NordPass because it comes from cybersecurity experts who know a lot about cryptography. Although Google and Samsung have password managers, there’s an air of authority from Nord.
If you’re not convinced that a password manager is necessary, then do some digging on credential stuffing attacks. Sadly these were also affected negatively by the quarantine are. ??
These easy-to-execute attacks rely on the assumption that the same password has been used more than once. A cybercriminal obtains a list of leaked usernames or passwords from one of the many, many data-leaks nowadays. They then simply try the same username and password combination on another service.
The success rate is relatively high, but the worst part is that it has direct financial losses to the victim. Tons of Disney+ accounts were stolen this way, and people had to pay again to use the service, with a secure password this time.
Password managers efficiently solve this problem. NordPass allows you to have as many long, unique, and complex passwords as you need, so you will never have to use the same password twice. Furthermore, it has an autofill function, saving your precious time for not having to type in your password manually.
It also has comfortable iOS and Android Apps and uses the latest encryption standards to secure your password vault.
Even though smartphone security takes more than just two apps, these will defend against most common cyber attacks and prevent you from having unnecessary losses.