With the smartphone industry growing by the day, there is growing concern about data security on such mobile devices. The power of these devices is always increasing, as is the amount of software that can be installed on them. With the advent of these different types of software, including financial software and personal identification software, the need for increased security is imperative. Most of these types of devices come with some kind of built-in security, but is this really enough for today’s world?
For most people today, their entire life is on their smartphone. It includes a large amount of information and personal data, such as:
personal / work documents, notes, pictures and emails that may contain sensitive information
full access to the Wi-Fi networks you connect to at work or at home
calendar appointments and contacts
access to various sites / information through apps, such as social media apps, bill pay apps, movie apps, shopping apps, etc.
With all this information on our smartphones, it makes it a gold mine for would-be thieves. The risk of your phone being lost, stolen, or even checked by your IT technician is only half the security issue with them. Smartphones can also filter other types of data by tracking your Internet traffic when connected to open Wi-Fi networks. Your passwords for unencrypted websites and services, such as Facebook, Twitter, web-based email sites, POP3 email services, etc., could easily be detected by someone else on the network. There is also the problem of viruses, malware, SMS / MMS exploits and Bluetooth exploits; These vulnerabilities can manipulate your phone’s settings and prevent you from using certain functions, sending information or calling contacts on your phone, stealing and / or destroying personal information on your phone, or rendering your phone completely unusable.
While the biggest concerns for now should focus more on protecting your phone from theft or loss or tracking over Wi-Fi, the problems of malware and hacking are becoming more and more prevalent. These issues could become more of a concern in the not too distant future due to the lack of active built-in security systems such as firewalls, antivirus programs, and anti-malware programs on our phones.
To establish a bit of background on the importance of protecting your mobile phone, Juniper Networks conducted a study of more than 6,000 smartphone and tablet users in 16 countries on mobile security threats.
They found the following:
250% increase in the amount of mobile malware in the last year
a Fortune 15 company found that 1,250 of its 25,000 devices were infected with malware 188Bet
44% of respondents use their devices for both business and personal use.
80% admit to using their devices to access their work network without the knowledge or permission of the employer
one in twenty applications in the Android market requests permissions that could allow the application to make a call without the user knowing
nine out of ten mobile devices have little or no security protection
more than 60% of reported smartphone infections are spyware and 17% are text message Trojans that can accrue fees that are charged to the device owner’s account
As Juniper’s findings clearly demonstrate, there is an inherent need for more security in mobile phones. Fortunately, there are several options to help protect your phone that are built into the operating system as well as various third-party programs. Even the most basic security measures can help you protect your personal information. To begin, we will start with some of the simpler defense mechanisms.
While this first one may seem pretty obvious and straightforward, don’t lose your phone! If you are in a public place, do not sit it down or put it in your pocket or in an open bag, where it can be easily grasped. This is actually the most common way that phones are lost or stolen.
You should also set your phone to lock or turn off after a certain period of time (thirty seconds or less is recommended), especially if you leave your phone on your desk at work or in other public areas. All major smartphones come with this functionality built in. You will need to make sure that you choose something that is not easy for anyone to guess, but easy to