Mobile Security

bank_security_safe_iphone_4_case-r57a20d3fc5414eb5ad2f920bf51cc3d3_w8wtc_8byvr_512When people usually here the words mobile security or computer security, their eyes glaze over and they tune out what is being said. I am going to try to change that. Today we are going to focus on mobile security, if there is any interest after this article I’ll right one about computer security.

Mobile Security – The type of security we are going to talk about will be VERY generalized, and only pertaining to mobile phones and tablets. Let’s start with iOS. I have heard from many people that they don’t want to be bothered to lock their phone/tablet, because it is inconvenient, or “I don’t have anything on it that anyone would want.” If you work in a legal firm or hospital, there is the possibility that you could have client/patient data on your device opening you or your business to a lawsuit or a fine depending on what kid of date was disclosed. The easiest thing you can do is to put a passcode on your device. Most people don’t know that as soon as you apply a password to your device, the device encrypts so that unless you have the passcode, there is no way for a “bad guy” to get in and see your data. While it may be a little inconvenient, it is getting better, with the iPhone 5s you can use your fingerprint to unlock the device. A system I am sure will soon become standard on many devices. Biometrics have been around for some time, and usually didn’t work well, but I must say that the fingerprint reader on my device works really well. I can say that I am very impressed. Some of the other devices that had fingerprint readers never functioned as advertised. After pass codes the most important thing you can do with your iOS device is NOT to jail break it. Jail breaking is the most dangerous thing you can do to your device. In order to jailbreak a device, hackers have to figure out how to exploit a vulnerability. Once a vulnerability is found the hackers create the jailbreak. Now let’s think about this for a second. You are going to give a complete stranger, who is a known hacker, access to your life? If you ever jail broke your phone, you are trusting that person created a virus free replacement for iOS. Think about this, what could possibly be disclosed if a stranger had access to your device? Not only could he read all of your email, but could get a copy of your address book, with all of your friends phone numbers and email addresses. Additionally. there was recently a story in the press about the Google Play store that someone with bad intentions downloaded the top 10 Android apps and injected a virus in them and then uploaded them, There is no telling how many devices were infected before the infection had been discovered. Quick recap – put a passcode on your devices and don’t jailbreak it. These two simple things can make your life much more secure than anything else you could do on your device. If you aren’t using iOS, I have some tips for you also. The passcode suggestion is still in place with any mobile operating system. However the earlier iterations of Android didn’t allow encryption (they do allow whole device encryption now). Encryption must be enabled manually. (Unlike iOS that enables it as soon as a passcode is put on the device.) Another suggestion is to get a good anti virus such as AVG which has been in the Anti-virus game for some time now, and scan regularly, especially if you download a lot of applications.

The bottom line: No matter which device you choose, think about the data that is on your phone, and whether or not you want that information shared with the world. These simple little hints can save you a lot of heartache in the long run.

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2 thoughts on “Mobile Security

  1. What’s your take on mobile banking? I keep hearing about how it’s all secure, but the three security people I’ve learned the most from–Bruce Schneier, Steve Gibson, and Brian Krebs–all say they won’t touch it. Same with Near-field communication on their credit cards.

    • I agree. The whole Near-field communication had a whole exhibit at Black Hat. As far as online banking, it would depend how the security on the application was set up. I mean, if you trust online banking on your computer, it is just as safe. I can only comment how I feel on iOS, as Android has known issues with malware where it would be and issue. I am far more confident in iOS, vs Android because of the fact.

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