By Gil Shapira, VP Business Development
With the proliferation of smart devices and more and more organizations allowing the use of personal devices in the workplace, there is little doubt that the bring-your-own-device (BYOD) movement has significant productivity, convenience and cost benefits. But it also leaves the smart device vulnerable to illegal activities from hacking to fraud and all the way to espionage.
If that wasn’t worrying enough, consider the fact that there is no shortage of freely available espionage/hacking software and malware out there. You only have to type “mobile hacking software” into Google and you get 16,200,000 results within 0.33 seconds! And for added enjoyment they provide “how to” articles as well – for the benefit of the novice.
And to add insult to injury, downloading and installing the software takes mere seconds.
According to recent articles and reports such as from The Guardian: SIM card flaws leave millions of mobile phones open to attack, hacker finds, Reuters: Researchers hack Verizon device, turn it into mobile spy station, and UN warnings on NBC, to name just a few, it seems the problem has now reached critical proportions, making it essential for every mobile phone user to be aware of the threat and actively take measures to protect themselves and their data.
Thankfully there are already several solutions available for these kinds of threats and they are not complicated or costly. Here are five simple ways to protect your “digital” self:
- Install an Anti-Virus on your mobile – It will be easier to identify suspicious activity. (Personally I use AVG which seems to be adequate. But there are a lot of alternatives out there. )
- Avoid using open Wi-Fi (unsecured networks) wherever possible. When you use these networks, it is easier for an attacker to ‘sniff’ where you are browsing and even find out what password you are using.
- When installing new applications, be very discerning and verify what they are doing. Some apps request permission to do just about anything on your mobile phone. Avoid installing these types of programs.
- Take the basic steps and secure your mobile phone with a pin code so that it’s protected when you leave it unattended.
- Avoid letting other people use your mobile phone. It only takes 10-20 seconds to install espionage / spyware software on your mobile phone.
These few suggestions may not provide the perfect protection – but they will go a long way towards keeping you safer and more secure.