Wednesday, December 20, 2017

SECURITY FOR MOBILE DEVICES: WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW



Sometimes it's hard to understand how to operate these devices. But, it's your responsibility to lock it down to ensure the smartphone you use today doesn't become tomorrow's cyber incident.

Introduction
It's five in the morning. You wake up, get out of bed turn, and shut off the alarm on your phone. In a few minutes, after you shave with an electric razor and get dressed, you tip-toe downstairs and go to the kitchen. Quietly, you put some water in the Keurig and start making coffee. From the fridge, you grab the coffee creamer, put some in the coffee, then back in the refrigerator. You sit down at the table and read your tablet, catching up on the news. Your smartphone alarm goes off, it's time to hit the road, you grab your keys from the table and head out the door. Can you figure out how many Internet-connected devices you used this morning? How about all of them!

What is Cybersecurity?
Cybersecurity is, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary is:"measures taken to protect a computer or computer system (as on the Internet) against unauthorized access or attack" (2).That's what we're talking about on today's blog. Your refrigerator, your coffee maker, your smartphone, and your car rely on a connection to the internet to make their functions possible. If it isn't connected to the Internet now, trust me, there is a company out there planning on putting it there. You might be asking, "Why would someone want to connect my razor to the Internet?". Companies want the data from your razor. When do you use it? How long?  All of this information is collected for the company using sensors on the phone, to make better razors, which they will sell back to you next Christmas, or even an app used by the razor to fine-tune its shaving heads or tell you when you need to change the blades. This method of connection and processing is called "Cloud Computing." 
According to the Pew Research Center Most Americans: "When smartphone owners were asked if they use some form of screen lock on their phones, around one-quarter (28%) reported that they do not. A second way that smartphones can be compromised is through software security flaws – either those that exist in the apps on users’ phones or in the smartphone operating system itself. To prevent this, security experts encourage users to regularly and promptly install updates for their apps and operating system, since these updates often contain critical security patches. Smartphone owners are similarly divided when it comes to updating the actual operating system on their devices. Some 42% of smartphone owners say that they typically upgrade their operating system (OS) as soon as a new version is available, but more than half say that they only update their operating system when it is convenient (42%) or that they never update their phones (14%)".

Importance of Cybersecurity
Most Americans feels that cybersecurity is a big problem: "Data security is a personal issue for many Americans: The survey finds that a majority of the public has noticed or been notified of a major data breach impacting their sensitive accounts or personal data. The survey examined several different types of data theft and found that 64% of U.S. adults have been impacted by at least one of them:
  • 41% of Americans have encountered fraudulent charges on their credit cards.
  • 35% have received notices that some type of sensitive information (like an account number) had been compromised.
  • 16% say that someone has taken over their email accounts,
  • 13% say someone has taken over one of their social media accounts.
  • 15% have received notices that their Social Security number had been compromised.
  • 14% say that someone has attempted to take out loans or lines of credit in their name.
  • 6% say that someone has impersonated them to file fraudulent tax returns." 
Conclusion
The world is a complicated place. Sometimes it's hard to understand how to operate these devices. But, it's your responsibility to lock it down to ensure the smartphone you use today doesn't become tomorrow's cyber incident. Remember: 1) always update your OS, 2) keep software patches up to date, and 3) install a screen lock to prevent unauthorized people from getting your phone.
Thank you for taking the time to read this blog!
x

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