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What does mobile security mean to you?

What does mobile security mean to you?

4/8/2014

In the modern world, smartphones and tablets have practically become extensions of users themselves. Mobile phone owners use their devices for an incredibly diverse range of tasks. As individuals text friends, make online transactions and edit work documents, these devices become filled with an increasing supply of personal information. As a result, today's cybercriminals are eager to circumvent security walls and gain access to the wealth of lucrative data kept on users' smartphones.

Not surprisingly, mobile security has become a more pertinent concern among smartphone owners. According to a recent Federal Trade Commission report, 57 percent of app users have taken some precautionary measure to prevent cybertheft. These individuals either uninstalled an app they perceived to be unsafe or decided against downloading an app due to security concerns. In addition, the report's findings indicate that many individuals lack confidence that their data is adequately protected. Only about one-third of Americans reported that they felt in control of the personal information on their phones.

Mobile device security has become a more prominent issue for company leaders, app developers and government officials as well as consumers.

Mobile security on the congressional floor
In the U.S. government, members of Congress are placing greater importance on bolstering mobile security. Last year, Georgia Congressman Hank Johnson introduced a bill known as the Application Privacy, Protection and Security Act of 2013. This bipartisan effort sought to require app developers to obtain users' consent before retrieving data. The bill would also hold developers accountable for maintaining the security of collected information.

Cybertheft and the world of BYOD
Data theft can have harsh effects on any individual, but it could be particularly detrimental to employees involved in a bring-your-own-device program. An increasing number of firms are implementing enterprise mobility strategies to boost productivity, improve communication between disparate workers and reduce hardware expenditures. Unfortunately, the storage of corporate data on personal devices puts firms at greater risk of a security breach.

Many popular consumer apps have weak security measures, giving cybercriminals easy access to sensitive data. The negative consequences have a twofold effect. Employees responsible for a data breach risk being fired, while company leaders could lose control over sensitive information, potentially leading to devastating financial losses.

Identity theft remains a menacing threat
As made clear by recent security breaches, identity theft poses a significant threat to American consumers. Last December's data attack on retail giant Target affected tens of millions of customers' identities, according to USA Today.

The risk of identity theft is significantly greater for mobile users who have personal data stored on their smartphones. ZDNet advised phone owners to install antivirus programs on their devices. Many cybercriminals have shifted focus from desktop PCs to mobile platforms, making it increasingly critical for smartphone users to enhance their security systems.

In an interview with USA Today, certified credit counselor Jonathan Gedeon recommended changing passwords at least every 60 to 90 days. He also stressed that mobile consumers must check that website addresses begin with "https," as this indicates that the site has encryption protection. ZDNet pointed out that by posting sensitive information on social media, mobile users help cybercriminals track their steps. As such, Twitter and Facebook users should adjust their privacy settings and refrain from divulging their whereabouts.

As cybercriminals become more adept at stealing information, smartphone owners will need to make mobile security a top priority. Data theft can be financially ruining, especially for BYOD participants. With ProtectCELL's identity protection program, fraud victims can recover their identities and safeguard their personal data. LifeLock's resolution specialists help individuals locate their phones, erase sensitive information and find the fraudsters responsible.

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