Tag Archives: phone-security

How Secure is Your Smartphone?

McAfee releases a quarterly report which details online threats. In the fourth quarter 2010 report, the company said that they have now identified almost a thousand threats which specifically target mobile devices. This is up about 46% over 2009. Most of these threats target Nokia’s Symbian operating system, as it is currently the most widely used in the world.

These days, we do everything with our phones: browsing, shopping and even banking. I’m not even sure I remember the last time I made an actual call with my iPhone. These devices need to be secure, and there are thankfully solutions available for your devices.

I talked to the team from King5 news here in Seattle about this growing problem, and some of the reasons I believe are behind it.

Cybercriminals currently have a window of opportunity to exploit a variety of mobile platforms. You could compromise your account information, your financial information and even your banking information.

I think that one of the largest areas of concern deals with app marketplaces which are offered by “outside” companies, such as with Android devices. Hackers know that free wallpaper, music and ringtones will tempt you so they often package spyware and malware. They turn you into an easy target, meaning you have to always use your thinking cap and best judgment. People are always going to be the weakest point for any amount of exploits out there.

You’ll notice that Apple’s iOS and RIM’s Blackberry OS are missing from McAfee’s list. I personally prefer Apple simply because they vet every single app that posts in their market. This is in direct contrast from what Google’s open Android Marketplace does.

Consumers feel safer with the way Apple does things – at least I know I do. I’m all about “open” as a concept, but come on. Do you REALLY want an open frontier on a device you do your banking on?

Mobile Security Catches a Thief

Using software such as Lookout is a smart idea. You can use it to back up your contacts and other important information so that you have access to that data should you lose your phone. I’m pretty sure you never dreamed something like this could catch a thief, though. That’s exactly what happened in the case of a young man who had Lookout on his phone when his car was stolen recently.

His phone was in the car, and he was planning a quick trip to the grocery store. A man with a gun approached him and demanded the keys to the car, jumping in and taking off immediately. The victim ran back into his house, opened up his laptop and checked to see where his phone was since he had left it in the car. He then called the police. Within an hour the thief had been located and arrested – and the car (and phone!) had been returned to their rightful owner.

The Lookout app on his phone saved his butt – and his car. Lookout provides award-winning security to protect you from viruses, malware and spyware, the ability to backup and restore your data, and tools to help locate lost or stolen phones. Lookout’s unique cross-platform, cloud-connected applications are designed to be lightweight and efficient while delivering the best protection possible.

Unfortunately, this app is only available for Android, Blackberry and Windows Phone 7 devices at this time. This story proves, though, that it’s better to be safe than sorry.