Regardless of whether we're doing online banking, researching new markets, working in the cloud, or simply surfing, we're at risk of becoming a victim of hackers. IT departments take extensive steps to protect data, networks, and devices, but in an era of BYOD and increasingly sophisticated cybercriminals, employees also have to safeguard themselves.
The times when telephones were used solely for making phone calls are long gone. Smartphones and tablets can be used anywhere for practically any function, yet they have their drawbacks. Symantec's State of Mobility survey found that users' biggest fears are devices being lost or stolen, the loss of data, and outsiders gaining unauthorized access to company resources. Unfortunately, all these fears are well founded.
There are steps users can take to protect their smartphones, tablets, and data. Here are my 10 tips to enhance your security when using mobile devices.
The easiest way to secure mobile devices is for users keep their basic protection up to scratch. Many of today's viruses, worms, and Trojans also target smartphones and tablets. An Internet-enabled device should always have an up-to-date antivirus program and a personal firewall. In addition, never underestimate the value of built-in security settings. A simple password query is extremely helpful if you're unfortunate enough to lose a phone after just a few hours of use.
Activate wireless connections only when you need them. VPN servers are helpful when using open WiFi hotspots, since they encrypt users' traffic, making it impossible for unauthorized users to intercept things such as user IDs, passwords, and confidential documents.
People are often tempted to install free apps without considering the consequences -- something dubious app developers exploit. Bear in mind that any apps you install may have issues. They could disable security functions or collect data not required for the specific application. Users should install only apps from reliable sources -- something for which Android offers a special menu item.
BYOD users should be especially aware of encryption opportunities. People should always store sensitive data with encryption software. Corporate data (such as business partners' details, email correspondence, and text messages) should be made available on local servers with password protection. By the way, Google is going down a different avenue; its operating system now allows more than one user to access the same device. And providers like Deutsche Telekom have been offering business customers mobile device management solutions for some time.
Nowadays it's standard practice for users to automatically protect their mobile devices against theft whenever possible. Once you've registered a smartphone with an anti-theft service, you can delete all the data remotely if the device is misplaced or stolen. This service assures you that sensitive information won't get into the wrong hands.
Turn off geotagging, the feature that can tell people where you were when a particular photo or video was taken. Most phones give you this capability.
Users should back up their mobile device data on a regular basis, either locally or in the cloud. Don't forget to encrypt your backups -- something you can do after the fact. And use a strong password to protect your backups to ensure others can't access the stored data.
Some people casually use in-app purchasing options, but this may prove very expensive. Though inputting payment information for each purchase can be a time-consuming process, it eliminates mistakes and potentially costly thefts. (Your credit card may not hold you responsible, but the phone discussions and followup paperwork can still waste your time.)
Most cloud services have PIN generators. It can seem tedious, but it's not a bad idea to have a text-generated PIN (in addition to your password). If your device is stolen, changing all the passwords will also reset your PIN.
At the end of the day, it's up to users to weigh the risks and benefits and take appropriate action. Discuss the options with your IT department, and figure out the best approach. Odds are you will lose your device or find yourself a target of hacking at some point. Taking a few extra minutes for protection now is well worth the time and hassle you'll save when that loss occurs.
— Charlotte Erdmann comments on a wide range of technologies from her base in Berlin. In addition to blogging, she is a media and communication consultant, organizing and managing large customer magazines and marketing activities within the IT industry.
It is possible. A longtime back I heard news of hardware keyloggers being fitted in second hand PC's, the same technique could be used here. I mean that battery is still in your phone, what if turning off your mobile doesnt really shuts the whole device off.
You're right, Shehzadi. And when 10 percent of cellphones are an open door, who cares about the 90 percent where the user has taken some trouble over choosing a pin? 10 percent of phones is a lot of phones.
Kim you are right. I think these specific pins are easy to be hacked even those things which are very close to you like you family member name, your any identification code in your work area etc can easily be hacked. I think PIN should be unique in a way and you should not be keeping same pin for two apps.
I thought they heard that already? I think we are always going to have that 10%, who no matter what are just going to take their online inetrractiosn so loosely. These peoplealways hide behind the notion that gthey may be too small for the bad guys to come after them and as a result therefore they won't go the extra mileto add strength to their respective PINs
With sms especially for our election monitoring system, we gunned for dependability via redundancy (had multiple sources delivering same data and checked for consistency). So, yes secured sms would be a though one.
I'm just not sure how feasible it is to try and secure SMS really. I can understand iMessage and BB Messenger, since they use different protocols that are custom to the providers, but SMS is too generalized. I feel like it would need to be managed on the cellular providers end which could pose a tremendous amount of issues.
The ThinkerNet does not reflect the views of TechWeb. The ThinkerNet is an informal means of communication to members and visitors of the Internet Evolution site. Individual authors are chosen by Internet Evolution to blog. Neither Internet Evolution nor TechWeb assume responsibility for comments, claims, or opinions made by authors and ThinkerNet bloggers. They are no substitute for your own research and should not be relied upon for trading or any other purpose.
A few months ago, my phone rang unusually late. Somebody at a company where I had access to the intranet told me, with panic in his voice, there’d been a hacker attack. It was difficult to see how much damage had been done, he told me, and so IT had decided to take the entire internal network offline.
Where multiple departments within a company once used different databases, storage records, data mining, and monitoring services, organizations are starting to discover the efficiencies of cloud for these aspects of their operations.
If you provide a product or service, you're always on the lookout for those who need it. But how do you reach B2B decision makers? You must recognize that you're seldom dealing with one person, and that B2B buyers want information from multiple sources.
A recent release of the popular TweetDeck app for Twitter power-users gives new life to software that had previously taken a wrong turn. Here's a quick walk-through of the new TweetDeck, to show you why it should be at the top of your Twitter toolkit.
A survey by JD Powers found that customer interest in product features is lessening as phones evolve. Rather than features, price is driving purchases, and that change could have a dramatic impact on how IT departments secure these devices.
Cellular operators, netbook manufacturers, and, of course, techies, have been eagerly awaiting a hands-on experience with Nokia's new netbook, the Booklet 3G. Reiter's got his hands on one, and tells you whether it's worth the wait.
You've heard the expression, "Out of the frying pan, into the fire?" Amazon lives in the fire. The e-tailer wins by keeping things hot for its competitors, employees, and itself, according to a new book.
Positec, a manufacturer of power tools for homes and commercial applications, achieves greater customer service flexibility and cuts hold times in half by using a cloud-based service to manage its call center.
Big-data and analytics tools enable marketers to understand customers as individuals, identifying unmet needs and addressing each customer as a "segment of one," says John Kennedy, VP corporate marketing, IBM.
Expert Integrated Systems: Changing the Experience & Economics of IT In this e-book, we take an in-depth look at these expert integrated systems -- what they are, how they work, and how they have the potential to help CIOs achieve dramatic savings while restoring IT's role as business innovator. READ THIS eBOOK
your weekly update of news, analysis, and
opinion from Internet Evolution - FREE! REGISTER HERE
Wanted! Site Moderators Internet Evolution is looking for a handful of readers to help moderate the message boards on our site as well as engaging in high-IQ conversation with the industry mavens on our thinkerNet blogosphere. The job comes with various perks, bags of kudos, and GIANT bragging rights. Interested?