Americans love their mobile devices, be it a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. Pew Research reports that an overwhelming percent of adult Americans own a smartphone (92%), laptop (73%), and/or tablet (45%), numbers that have steadily increased over the past decade. We don’t need a research study to tell us that everyone is using these mobile devices, however. One merely needs to look around at airports, conferences, and even coffee shops to see that there are a majority of adults accessing data and the internet from their mobile devices. Given these numbers, what are the biggest threats to mobile security and how can they be solved?
Lost/Stolen Device - One of the biggest concerns for business users, especially those who travel frequently, is what happens if they lose their device through either human error or theft. It is fairly common for users to put down their smartphone and forget to pick it back up. It is also fairly common for thieves to target mobile users who are forgetful or have looked away for a moment. One solution for this is to have an alarm on your phone that can help you GPS-locate it. Another solution is to be sure that you encrypt the device so that in the event of a theft, all of your data cannot be accessed. Some users even have a protocol to wipe the device clean in the case of a theft.
Application Security - Many apps on your mobile devices may be the unintentional cause of a data leak. As noted by eSecurity Planet, for example, “riskware” apps pose a real problem for mobile users, who give them sweeping permissions, but don’t always check security. These are typically free apps found in official app stores that perform as advertised, but also send personal — and potentially corporate — data to a remote server, where it is mined by advertisers or even cybercriminals.(Source: eSecurity Planet)
Unsecured Wi-Fi - It is incredibly tempting to use the free Wi-Fi at the hotel, airport, or visiting clients. Be aware that, as we mentioned in our blogs over the past month, free Wi-Fi is not secure. We suggest users avoid using free Wi-Fi and never use it to access confidential or personal services, like banking or credit card information.
Viruses, Spyware and Malware - Be sure to follow regular safety guidelines on your mobile devices as you would on your desktop. Don’t open suspicious emails, go to unknown internet sites, or install programs that do not come from reputable app stores. We also suggest that users download a solid antimalware and antivirus detection program to help detect and eliminate viruses or malware before there is a chance that cyber criminals can collect and use sensitive data.
Does your company have guidelines for mobile security? Call Spectra Networks at 978.219.9752, or visit our website at Spectra Networks to find out more about security features for your mobile devices.