I’ve had many of the same experiences with Social Media. Companies that allow me to interact on-line offer me yet another solution when I have problems.
A recent story I’ve been following regarding the security of Droid applications involves companies building malicious applications that would scrape data from Droid phones and then relay the information to China. The public’s reaction was to immediately jump to a Droid/iPhone comparison.
This has become a huge victory for Apple’s walled garden approach to application distribution. I disagree with the idea that the walled garden is an additional level of security. After all, haven’t we all argued that Microsoft’s approach to development is far less secure than an open source approach?
In all fairness I should say that I carry an iPhone and I love to pick on the Fandroids. Yes, the breach is a big deal but it’s not Apple’s walled garden protecting iPhone users. My real problem with these stories is the idea that an iPhone is somehow more secure than other devices. This false sense of security is dangerous. I’ve railed against Apple’s marketing behavior regarding this issue for years. Absolutely nothing is 100% secure. Having said that, you can take steps to make a Smartphone more secure:
- Understand your risks. These devices are far more than simple phones; they are connected to data you’ve worked hard to protect.
- Maintain physical control of the device. If you’re carrying a device that has the data storage of 14 filing cabinets keep it in your control.
- Keep it password protected. Yes, I know the four digit password is pretty weak, but it slows access until you can have your data wiped.
- Have a way to remotely wipe your phone. This is a must. You must have the ability to kill the phone and data stored on the phone if it’s lost.
- Don’t store passwords. I know it’s annoying to type in passwords, but do you want just anyone who holds your phone to access everything on it?
- Don’t install apps you don’t need. Yes, virtual farts are funny but who knows what’s in the code, it’s better to hold off or make the noises yourself.
- Keep apps up to date. Just like on your computer, application updates are great tool that allows developers to enhance features and security. Apply your updates.
- Be cautious with connections and websites. Remember that your phone is a mini computer and the same rules apply as they do on our home machine. Public Wi-Fi and bad web pages can cause you real problems!
Don’t trust that anyone is looking out for you. Be diligent with any device and its security. The steps above won’t keep you 100% secure but they make you far less of a target.
Have you lost a phone and suffered for it? Share your story.
Have more questions on Smartphone security, or other technology? Attend Chris’ Ask a Techie session at the Cincinnati Accounting Show, September 22-23, 2010, or the Columbus Accounting Show, September 29-30, 2010.
Filed under: Technology | Tagged: Apple, Cincinnati Accounting Show, Columbus Accounting Show, Droid, iPhone, mobile applications, mobile security, smartphone security, The Ohio Society of CPAs Ohio Accounting Show, walled garden | Leave a comment »