According to a 2013 study, the average user checks their cell phone at least 150 times a day. We’re glued to our phones, even if we don’t like to admit it. For many of us that are on the clock even when we’re not at our desk, our phones are our office. Often, this means that we send a fairly sizeable chunk of email from our phone, from short replies to longer messages that just can’t wait until we can get to our laptops.
Yet, despite how much we use them, we often don’t think about security when it comes to our mobile devices. It’s easy to ignore the unique security hazards that come with using a cellphone to send email over the air.
It’s time to change that, and to start thinking about how email encryption is as valuable on your phone as it is on your desktop.
Mobile Malware Threat
In their 2015 Threat Report, McAfee Labs highlighted the growing threat that malware presents to the mobile market. While malware is nothing new for desktops, cell phones have become something a breeding ground for hostile pieces of software.
Phone-based malware often is silent, runs in the background and collects as much information as it possibly can. This, of course, can include the content of every message you send — including your emails.
Ultimately, you should use your best judgment when downloading apps and do as much research as possible before hitting “download.” It’s also a good idea to adopt mobile email encryption, which will prevent any malware from grabbing potentially sensitive plaintext messages.
While Edward Snowden’s revelations got many worried about the government listening in to their conversations, the big agencies aren’t the only ones trying to monitor your phone usage. Local police departments have the ability to monitor your phone through the usage of devices that mimic cell towers.
The most infamous of these devices is referred to by the name “StingRay.” When phones connect to StingRay, the device then proceeds to record and monitor all data that moves across its network. According to the New York Times, the technology can capture everything from calls to emails.
As we’ve mentioned before, you don’t have to be doing anything wrong to want email privacy. The idea that the emails sent from your phone might be collected and stored in a database at your local police station is scary, to say the least. Luckily, mobile email encryption can protect your data, scrambling it so that even if it is recorded, you won’t have to worry about it falling into the wrong hands.
Chances are, unless you’re lucky enough to be on an unlimited data plan, you probably try to use public WiFi networks whenever you get the chance. While economical, such networks present a huge threat to your privacy. Unfamiliar, unsecured networks could potentially be used to monitor your data — meaning that every email you send is traveling past someone who likely wants to capture it.
Now, we’re not saying that your local coffee shop has sinister goals by offering free WiFi to customers, but you can never be sure about the security of the public networks you’re communicating over.
Embracing Mobile Email Encryption
The best way to prevent others from snooping on your emails is to encrypt them, regardless of if you’re sending them from your phone or your desktop. Afraid that mobile email encryption will be too much of a hassle for you? Virtru can provide your iOS or Android device with client-side mobile email encryption, ensuring that the content of your emails will never fall into the wrong hands — and it’s ridiculously quick and easy to use.
Try Virtru today, and see how simple it can be to lock down your mobile device from prying eyes.