Your Smartphone…The Hackers New Frontier
Since the earliest days of computing, hackers have devised clever ways of wreaking electronic havoc. Why does a hacker hack? Some find it fun and treat it as a hobby while others have found it to be a great way to steal valuable information which can then be turned into a profit, heck, nowadays it’s become a vehicle of protest, terrorism, you name it hackers do it.
Hackers have always gone towards the most popular systems, targeting the most users. With the increase in smartphone use and general rise of mobile technology, mobile security is a major issue to think about.
McAfee recently released their quarterly threat report and at the top…yup, you guessed it: “Mobile Threats Grow Rapidly”. This report shows a startling increase in Malware attacks, and a dramatic increase in threats between 2009 and 2010, which leaves one to wonder what this year will bring.
You can checkout the full report for yourself Here.
An upsurge in security based apps won’t be surprising and I’m sure will be quite welcomed but in the mean time here are a few simple tips to keeping your smartphone secure, thanks to the good folks at www.cioupdate.com:
1. Lock your screen with a pin code or password. While this seems simple, anything that provides an extra layer of difficulty for an untrustworthy user is beneficial.
2. Install and enable remote services. All major smartphone operating systems (Blackberry, iOS, Android, Windows Mobile) can be enabled with some or all of these features: remote lock, remote wipe, and even GPS location (for finding where your phone went) are available in many cases. This goes hand in hand with No. 3.
3. Back up your data. Either through a product that offers this functionality, or simply by copying your documents, pictures and info to your computer. This can save you in the event of a lost, stolen, destroyed, or otherwise non-functioning phone.
4. Use encryption where available. Though not offered on every platform, if you can use it, you should. Even in cases where you lock your phone, the data on your device storage can, in some cases, be accessible unless it is encrypted. This includes external memory cards, such as SD cards, installed in the device as well.
5. Use Antivirus. The mobile malware landscape is developing more quickly now than ever before, due to increased reliance on smartphones for everyday tasks such as banking, paying bills, and managing finances. As a direct result, malware writers will likely show an ever increasing interest in gaining access to your money.
1. Don’t jailbreak, root, or otherwise unlock your phone. While this may add some small increase in functionality, it can also completely disable the security architecture of your device.
2. Don’t connect to untrusted Wi-Fi access points. The coffee shop, the airport or other points of connectivity can be compromised or otherwise provide a way for others to access your secure data. Login data or personal information that you provide over these networks can sometimes be accessible to other people either connected to, or operating these access points. It is also worth mentioning that many services on current devices will “auto-synchronize” in the background without any user action. The information used to synchronize, or the information you send or receive during the syncing process could be available to others in this circumstance.
3. Don’t wait to report a problem. Immediately notify your network administrator or other responsible security person if your phone has been lost or stolen. Treat your phone as though it is your wallet. If you have backed up your data, you will recover.
4. Don’t skip updates. Update your operating system, update your apps. Security flaws are found in both operating systems and applications every day. The longer you wait, the longer you risk being exposed.
5. Don’t assume your mobile device is any safer than your computer. It is a fact that viruses and other malware exist for mobile devices. Phishing attacks often still work on mobile browsers. Employ all the safety tactics you’d use on your regular computer. Check the address of the site you’re trying to access, avoid clicking links in email, or SMS/text messages, and avoid providing personal data whenever possible, even via SMS/text message.