How Secure is your Mobile Phone?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Robert Siciliano

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I love my iPhone. The fact that I have a full web browser and can access all my data anytime from anywhere is fantastic. Plus my iPhone allows me to peek in on my home security system with an application that’s connected to my home security cameras. If I’m on the road I can log in and see the family doing whatever activities in our outside the home.

If you don’t have a phone that you can integrate with your home security system I strongly recommend considering an iPhone. Besides being the coolest thing to be able to show someone live video of your home base, it is incredible peace mind to check in.

And consider if that phone fell into the wrong hands what could come of it? In my case not much due to the fact I’m pretty well locked down.

If you have one of the popular brands below pay attention:

BlackBerry:

The Blackberry is easily the most popular Smartphone on the market and, according to cellphones.org, the most ‘natively’ secure. Just by having a Blackberry, you are one step ahead but that doesn’t mean you don’t still have to enable your security settings.

Enable your password. Under General Settings set your password to ‘on’ and select a secure password. You may also want to limit the number of password attempts. Test to make sure that your password works by locking your phone to confirm.

 

Encrypt your data. Under Content Protection settings, enable encryption. Then, under ‘Strength’ select either ‘stronger’ or ‘strongest’. Though ‘strongest’ is the most secure, ‘stronger’ has faster encryption/decryption. Under the Content Protection settings you will also have the option to encrypt your address book.

 

When visiting password protected internet sites do not save your passwords to the browser. Anyone who finds your phone and manages to unlock it will then have access to all of your account data and your identity will be stolen. It may be annoying to have to enter your password every time but the extra 30 seconds is certainly worth avoiding identity theft.

iPhone:

The iPhone, which has captured over 25% of the Smartphone market, the second highest share in the industry, has notoriously poor encryption capabilities. As such, enabling the included security features and adding apps that allow you to secure your information is key to being a ‘safe’ iPhone owner.

Enable the Pass code Lock and Auto-Lock. Go into your phones General Settings and set the 4-digit phone pass code to something that you will remember but is not ‘significant’ to you. That means no birth dates, no anniversary dates, no children’s ages. Then, go back into General Settings and set the Auto-Lock. Although you can choose from 1 min to 5min, the quicker your phone locks the safer it is from those who might be tempted to tamper with it while you aren’t looking.

 

Turn your Bluetooth off unless you are using it. Bluetooth allows you to easily connect to a hands-free head set or to send files from your phone to a computer. However, this also works the other way. A tech savvy hacker with a laptop can easily hack your phone from the Bluetooth connection if it’s on.

 

Download Simple Vault 1.2. Simple vault adds a second layer of protection to your iPhone by allowing you to password protect each of your apps. It also allows you to store your sensitive information right on your phone, unlike other security apps which send it to you over the internet when you access it

 

General:

 

Whenever possible, wait till you get to your computer on a secured network before accessing sensitive information. When responding to important work emails or checking your bank account balance it really is best to wait until you can access this information from a secure network. Anti-virus and anti-malware software as well encryption capabilities for computers are miles ahead than what is currently available for phones. So ask yourself before you enter your credit card number to that online store: Is it worth identity theft for me to do this now or can it wait till I get back to the office/home?

 

Robert Siciliano personal security expert to Home Security Source discussing Mobile Phone Spying on Good Morning America

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Post Rating I Like this!
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Ray Tan Great articles.
Nowadays, mobile are becoming more and more powerful,you can reply your email, access your bank and so on.
At the same time, the risk of information leakage by mobile are increasing.
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Robert Siciliano Thanks Ray!
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Lance Miller @Robert,

Congrats on being quoted in the Fox News article about the common things Hackers are turning against us on Fox News.

Here is the story:
http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2010/06/11/everyday-items-hackers-targeting-right/?test=faces
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Robert Siciliano Thanks Lance. I hope anyone reading that from the IT community sees the article for what it is. Some of the proposed scenarios are out there, but there is a grain of truth there too. Its not designed to create fear or rile anyone, just to pause and take a look. As we rely more an more on remote access/wireless and various technologies for convenience or simply technology in general, there will always be someone looking to find holes in it. But either way, dont take it or frankly ourselves to seriously. But do pause.
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