Unprotected Mobile Devices and Mobile Theft Epidemic

It is astonishing to know how many people do not password-protect their mobile devices for both business and personal use. There are more than 40% of mobile device users that are not using any passwords or security applications. If your mobile device is lost or stolen and it’s not password protected, your accounts and personal information is 100% accessible.  I wonder if users realize how vulnerable they are if their mobile devices  (Smart Phones or Tablets) are stolen or misplaced.  Cyber criminals are looking for weaknesses especially on Android platforms. My device is a Windows 8 business mobile phone pre-loaded with Microsoft Office, Banking, Public and Work Email Accounts, Cloud Storage (SkyDrive), Banking, Credit Card and Payment Apps requiring a log on. The thought of this information getting into the wrong hands is bothersome and the impact would be devastating.

Mobile theft is a growing issue that also affects businesses and consumers equally. Cell-phone theft in major cities (i.e. San Francisco, New York) has become a national crime epidemic. It will only take a few minutes for someone to steal all sensitive data stored in your mobile device which will be unfortunate and upsetting. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or it is now referred to Bring Your Own Disaster or/and Bring Your Own Apps Smartphones and Tablets are growing, make sure that security protocols are enforced to protect corporate data on all devices. Please read my BYOD Article here for best practices.

 

To prevent potentially embarrassing information falling into the wrong hands, don’t keep private information stored directly on your personal or business phone but store private information, photos or documents remotely or via cloud. Sometimes, storing data via cloud is neither viable option but it is convenient to most of us. It is still a good practice to store files locally and have them on hand in the event you can’t connect to the cloud for any reasons. If that’s the case, the precautionary step you might want to consider is enabling a password lock. Every mobile OS has a password lock feature such as iOS, BlackBerry OS, Windows, Android platforms that will allow you to set a PIN password or a more complex alphanumeric pass-code for the lock screen.

Best Practices to Protect/Secure Your Mobile Devices and Control Theft Epidemic:

  • Password protect all your mobile devices and do not use easy to remember passwords.
  • Never use the “remember me” function on your apps or mobile web browser, and make sure to log out of your accounts.
  • Do not share your PIN/Passwords with anyone, even with a family or close friends.
  • Reading online resources to keep you educated on the latest techniques/means to protect your mobile device is vital.
  • Implement best practices to protect corporate networks and allow consumers to download music, store digital files, bank, shop, surf and search safely.

 

Securing Mobile Devices on Bring Your Own Device (BYOD)

With a myriad of mobile devices being used on a variety of new platforms (Android, Windows 8, iOS 6, etc.) – IT Professionals are beginning to raise concerns on how to manage and secure these devices. With more of the device processing occurring outside the company, these concerns are critical. What if an employee handed their company phone to another employee? In today’s environment, this second employee could take advantage of the situation and use the phone for non-approved activities. This could create significant employment issues for the first employee. On another level, there’s the potential threat from mobile malware that’s becoming more prevalent.

owndevice

Some businesses are seeing Employees bringing their own Droids, iPhones, iPads, and other Tablets to work and using them for personal and business purposes. While this may generate the perception that it’s e great for productivity, the invasion of personal smartphones and tablets in the workplace can cause a significant risk to your organization’s security. Without having a proper strategy you could be at risk.

When employees are given carte blanche on the corporate network with their mobile devices (installing Apps and use of Cloud storage), there is a significant potential for corporate data loss. Any time a phone is lost, stolen, or even simply sold or exchanged, the potential for compromising of data may occur. This can be prevented by implementing encryption, password restriction, and remote wipe and lock thru a Mail Server.

byod1

It’s vital for IT Professional to secure access to corporate data. Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) or personal and corporate use can be managed by using third-party software (listed below) to secure data in your wireless phone and company. Investing in a Mobile Device Management (MDM) solution that controls which devices can access specific applications on your network is a smart decision. By taking precautionary steps, files are secured with the highest encryption for file sharing.

On July 10, 2013, I was given an opportunity to attend an IT Security Seminar and have met some of these top MDM Vendors.

AirWatch
BoxTone
Eset Mobile Security
Exitor
FancyFon
McAfee Enterprise Mobility Management
Mobile Active Defense
Symantec Mobile Management
Trend Micro Mobile Security

Why secure BYOD’s? It’s not the devices that are causing lots of the problems. The challenge is employees wanting to use their own device for both personal and professional business. This creates a host of security issues, as mentioned earlier, and the reason to implement controls and security measures.