The smartphone has become the center of how we work, live, and play. For many, it has even become the only thing that we bring out of the home, replacing our laptops, wallets, and even house keys.
While we are generally more mindful today of the dangers posed by hackers to our laptops and computers, we also need to recognize that smartphones are prone to cyberattacks as well. Hackers go where the crowds are and right now, that’s mobile devices.
That’s why it’s never been more important to stay safe, and why we’re constantly innovating to protect you and your data against emerging threats.
The billions of smartphones around the world are filled with sensitive personal and business data, providing infinite opportunities for hackers to steal and sell private information. In fact, cybersecurity firm IronNet reported that cyberattacks have increased 168% between May 2020 and May 2021, with attacks on smartphones becoming one of the biggest cybersecurity threats in the Asia Pacific region.
Samsung is committed to keeping users safe and secure, with Samsung Knox providing true end-to-end protection throughout the entire lifecycle of your device.
In this article, we explore five potential cyberattack scenarios that could happen when the safety of your device is compromised – and explain how Samsung Knox protects you from these threats, in line with our ethos of placing security at the heart of every decision we make.
Cyberattack Scenario 1: Unauthorized backdoor access
Outside of Samsung, developers routinely create software ‘backdoors’ for apps and even mobile OSes so that they can gain easy access for troubleshooting purposes. However, hackers are able to discover these backdoors, which usually bypass any or all cybersecurity measures on the device in question.
To prevent unauthorized backdoor access, do not download unofficial or unauthorized apps. Downloading software other than what the manufacturer originally installed to gain full access to the device’s operating system could also introduce malware or spyware that leads to unauthorized backdoor access.
How Samsung protects you against this threat: At Samsung, we design, create, and validate every computer chip, every piece of wiring, and every hardware component before using them to manufacture our smart devices in highly secure factories around the world.
This chip-up approach gives us control over design, manufacturing, and assembly, ensuring a secure supply chain that prevents unauthorized backdoor access in our devices – resulting in an end product that our users can trust completely.
Cyberattack Scenario 2: Compromised, weak, or re-used passwords
As users continue to create new accounts for digital services, ranging from telehealth services to new ride-hailing and e-commerce platforms, they provide more avenues for hackers to exploit.
An August 2021 survey from IBM found1, 86% of consumers in the Asia Pacific admit that they re-use the same credentials across multiple online accounts. This is a poor data privacy habit – just one attack could leave a user’s entire internet footprint vulnerable to hackers.
How Samsung protects you against this threat: Samsung’s devices2 are equipped with innovative biometric authentication technology, such as Ultrasonic Fingerprint so that access to your data can be protected even if your device is lost or stolen.
Known as Samsung Pass3, this biometric authentication tool also lets users easily access log-in credentials without the need to remember countless usernames and passwords4.
To take data protection to the next level, we have also equipped our devices with Knox Vault, a secure processor that operates independently from the main CPU. Knox Vault securely isolates your biometrics data from the rest of your phone, so no one can get their hands on your data.
Cyberattack Scenario 3: Free Wi-Fi may not be so free after all
Free Wi-Fi hotspots are a boon for everyone who needs access to the Internet on their mobile devices for work or play. However, public Wi-Fi services provide an opportunity for hackers to steal data, as the data that you send across the web – such as credit card information for online purchases – might first pass through the hands of a hacker via a public Wi-Fi network.
How Samsung protects you against this threat: For everyday browsing, Secure Wi-Fi5
encrypts outgoing internet traffic and disables tracking apps and websites. It allows you to browse the internet safely on public wireless connections without fear of security breaches.6
Cyberattack Scenario 4: Phishing attacks compromising sensitive data
Phishing is a type of attack in which cybercriminals trick victims into handing over sensitive information or installing malware7, disguised as links, attachments, or even legitimate apps, on their devices.
Once hackers have access to your sensitive information, they could use it to demand a ransom from you, steal your personal information, carry out other vices, or make purchases with your credit card information, for instance.
How Samsung protects you against this threat: Device Protection in Samsung Device Care continuously scans your device for malware or suspicious activity and alerts you when you mistakenly install malicious apps through detection via the McAfee protection.
Additionally, the Samsung Secure Folder keeps data secure and isolates problematic apps within the folder to keep apps away from users’ personal information.
Meanwhile, when you’re purchasing with Samsung Pay8 on your mobile device, your card information is encrypted and completely isolated to protect it at all times.
Cyberattack Scenario 5: Zero-day vulnerability
As hackers and cyber attackers are constantly trying to hack into devices, they are always on the lookout for zero-day vulnerabilities. A zero-day vulnerability is a vulnerability in a system or device that has been discovered but is not yet patched. This can be particularly dangerous as cybercriminals target the flaws in a system before developers or the public are aware it even exists.
How Samsung protects you against this threat: Samsung Knox offers real-time protection, always actively protecting your devices against data attacks or malware. This means that unauthorized attempts to access or modify your phone’s core is blocked in real-time.
When users reboot their Samsung smartphone, Secure Boot is activated to detect any unauthorized software and block attempts to compromise the device through multi-layered, defense-grade security. If the smartphone is booted in an unapproved state, Samsung Knox will automatically lock-up apps containing sensitive data such as Samsung Pay, Samsung Pass, Secure Folder, or Samsung Health.
Looking ahead to a more secure future
The smartphone has become a key part of our digital lives, whether from home, in the classroom, or even in the office. With new cyber-threat vectors continuously putting us at risk, we need to stay vigilant and play an active role in keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe in this digital world.
Security does not just stop at smartphones for Samsung, as Knox protection also extends to the smart appliances in Samsung’s portfolio for an additional layer of protection.
This means that your Samsung smart appliances are protected and secured, whether you are mirroring the video you are watching on your Galaxy device with the SmartView app to the screen on your Family Hub™ or using the AI function on your AI EcoBubble washing machine to calibrate optimal wash settings.
As a Samsung user, you can be assured that you have a digital partner committed to world-class security and privacy standards – keeping you safe while you work, study, and play.
To know more about how Samsung Knox protects your devices from cyberattacks, watch Samsung Knox: Collective Protection or read it at samsung.com/ph/news/local/how-samsung-protects-your-smartphones-from-cyberattacks/.
Notes and References:
1IBM Security: IBM Consumer Survey: Security Side Effects of the Pandemic: https://filecache.mediaroom.com/mr5mr_ibmnews/191177/Pandemic%20Security%20Side%20Effects%20Global%20Survey_IBM%20Analysis.pdf
2Biometric authentication feature availability may vary by device
3The available functions, features, and compatible applications for Samsung Pass may vary by country due to differing regulatory and legal environments.
4As a best practice, consumers are still advised to input complex passwords to secure their login credentials.
5Secure Wi-Fi feature availability may vary depending on country, carrier, or network environment and may not be supported on all Samsung mobile devices. Fees may apply depending on Secure Wi-Fi usage.
6As a best practice, avoid connecting to unknown Wi-Fi hotspots and always keep the Wi-Fi network at home secured with complex and long passwords.
8Availability of Samsung Pay may vary by device, bank, issuer, and country