How Secure Is Your Mobile Phone?
August 17, 2012
Do you remember the days of landlines, pagers and payphones? Amazing how not so long ago I remember getting a page and driving around trying to find a payphone just to be able to call into the number that paged me. Then along came the creation of the cellular phone which is now pretty much a staple in each home, especially if there are teenagers in the house!
So along with the convenience of having someone being able to reach us 24/7, we now have the issue of cellular security. The most common smartphones are like mini computers. Think of all the information that we maintain on our phones: contacts, email messages, text messages, photos, videos, passwords and web / browsing history. Additionally, many of us sync our phones and computers thus causing more issues! A major security issue with our phones are the applications that are out there that we download onto our phones without really verifying what we are truly allowing them to do to our phones and all of its contents.
One example I use in my class is one of the Android based Flashlight applications. Have you READ what you are allowing to happen to your phone upon downloading a common flashlight application? Just one of the security issues is the fact that once the application is downloaded onto the phone (with your agreement once you hit agree and install) the application can now create network sockets, keep your phone from sleeping and most problematic is it can now take pictures or videos at any given time without notifying you. Before downloading any application READ what it is going to do. Now can there be ‘hidden’ trackers in applications… of course.
A great application for the iOS (Apple) market that will assist to identify current security and privacy risk within installed applications is TrustR. Rookie Systems launched this application recently which will scan installed applications for risks affecting your privacy and security and provide you a resolution to the issue. TrustR can be used for the iPhone, IPod Touch and iPad.
An well known application for the Android market that will scan your applications is LookOut. Just as TrustR, this application will scan every app on your Android for spyware or malware. It will also examine every app you download to keep your phone secure from additional risks.
Each platform has security risks; however, reports show the Android market to have increased in malware issues over the last year expediently. Knowledge is power; learn how to protect your phone and your private data. Research can be easily conducted with a quick Google search.
Michele has been the owner of Jag Investigations since 1997. Her area of expertise includes open source intelligentce, & corporate & competitive intelligence. She is an Instructor at the FBI Academyand an Adjunct Professor with University of Virginia. She was also recently named Speaker of the Year for the National Association of Investigative Specialists. Contact her at 480-988-2580