Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Be careful with your phone

The report of the week

Imagine this situation: you are going to work by public transport, you check your pocket to get your new smartphone and… Surprise! It’s not there. Then you look for it everywhere, desperately: in your other pocket, your bag, the floor… And you stare at people, trying to find some complicity, someone that could say: “I’ve seen the thief, it’s the one over there”. But nobody looks back at you. Then you realise you are not going to see your mobile again.

Nervous, you start thinking… You have lost all your pictures, you left your social networks open, the bank application had your password on it, your personal and work emails with confidential information were there…

By the way, one question: Was your phone locked with a security PIN? If the answer is “Yes, it was”, the disappointment is less. You report the theft, make a card duplication and then the previous one becomes unusable. But this fact that seems so obvious, it’s not that obvious for 1 in 5 people, who leave their smartphones without that protection, especially if we are referring to work phones.

Through Help Net Security, today we have heard about a survey by Keepsafe, conducted among 1,000 Americans, about their behavior regarding the security of their mobiles. While these are reluctantly shielding their emails, they have much more relaxed attitude towards smartphones. 63 percent of the people surveyed say they have shared their passwords with someone else.

When asked if they have ever given their phone –unlocked- to a stranger, 48 percent admit having done so, to strangers in the street so they could take a picture of them, and 82% admit having taken a phone from a stranger for the same reason. And if in that moment, the person pretends to take different photos, perhaps he or she is getting access to your secret number and hacking you! It’s the same as if that person runs away with your phone. In both situations, you lose.

Regarding work phones, half of the people surveyed don’t think they have private content stored inside, despite they use it to send and receive work emails and banking, payment and shopping apps. But surely your company is not so happy about you not considering that this type of information is as important as your personal data.

There is another threat regarding smartphones, and this is more virtual than physical. We are talking about the apps that you download from unknown sites (it also happens even when they come from known platforms, such as Google Play or Apple Store). Why is this a danger? Because black hat hackers can hide malware, like the Gooligan malware, which can steal the authentication tokens and can access to your Gmail, Google Docs and Google Drive.

Let’s go back to the first scene where we were at the beginning of the text. You are on the metro or the bus, at night, you are coming home, sad and tired after a long unlucky day. You leave your coat and keys in the hall, you enter the living room and, surprise! Because you were rushing in the morning, you left your phone on the sofa. What a fright, isn’t it? You are going to be more careful with your phone from now on, aren’t you?

Image source: Free images


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