Russia as an Example of Why Mobile Security Matters

Over $5.4 million stolen from Russian users by hackers.

“It won’t happen to me”

That seems to be the attitude of the general mobile consumer. User’s are not looking at things such as security and privacy when purchasing smartphones. Instead, they’re looking at apps. The decision to shop this way shall prove very costly to users, probably sooner than later.

Russia has been a hotbed of hacking. Many of our most recent and most talked about hacks have originated in Russia. Even with this being the case, we know that not all hacks originate their, and any one of us can be targeted, no matter where we are located.

Russian newspaper Kommersant, published some interesting, and quite frightening information about how hacks are affecting Russian users. Information such as;

  • Between April 2015 and March 2016, over $5.4 million has been stolen from Russian bank accounts by hackers.
  • This is a 470% increase over the prior year.
  • Hackers are stealing this money through the use of Android Trojans.
  • Around 350 Russia android users fall victim to hackers daily.
  • Known hacks to PC’s have decreased as hackers begin to focus more on android.

This will no doubt lead many readers here to comment on the insecurity of android phones, but there is more to it than that. I’d like to respond to some of those comments before they arrive.

First and foremost, android is the number one mobile OS in the world. In fact, when looking at the market as a whole, you might as well say that android is the only mobile OS out there. Nothing else comes remotely close in terms of market share. Why does that matter? Quite simply, a hacker looking for an easy mark, will look at the biggest market first. Truth be told, android is a far cry from the most vulnerable OS out there. iOS more than doubles android in the amount of known vulnerabilities. We really shouldn’t expect anything less than that as Mac OS has the most known vulnerabilities of all OS’s.

Secondly, there are many other issues that make android less secure than it could be. Most notably, updates being held back from user’s devices. Google has become very good at pushing out monthly security updates. Unfortunately, both device manufacturers and phone carriers are not immediately pushing these updates through. In some cases, security updates are not only late, they just never arrive at all. (I’m looking at you Verizon!) Also, there is a large subset of android users that choose to root their phones, and by doing so, are removing what security features were baked in to the phone.

The mobile landscape has become like the wild west. User’s happily cruising about in their smartphone stagecoaches, with all their personal and financial information stored within strong boxes within that stagecoach. User’s think that these strong boxes will protect them. Unfortunately, those smartphone stagecoaches will find their strong boxes easily opened and robbed by bandit hackers. All without the user never even knowing they’ve been robbed until it is too late.

Luckily, there is a company which is doing something about this. BlackBerry has taken android to a place no one else has. With the injection of hardware security keys, BlackBerry insures that root access cannot be obtained. This cuts off the most frightening hacks before they can even start. Additionally, BlackBerry is the only maker that has immediately released each Google security patch. In the case of the Quadrooter vulnerability, BlackBerry even beat Google to pushing out a patch to protect their users.

In a world where hacks against our devices, and the theft of our information, finances, and identities are growing at an exponential rate, BlackBerry is the first, and as yet only, company that is keeping users safe. No matter which OS the BlackBerry is running.

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Brad

Founder & Owner of UTB Blogs. Former BlackBerry Elite. When I'm not talking or writing about BlackBerry, you'll find me using my BlackBerry.

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