Tuesday, September 20, 2011
Mobile Securities - CBS Early Show
As discussed on The Early Show this morning (here is link to video) I've compiled a few things to be aware of when it comes to your always-on-you device.
Where are threats coming from?
Threats can be sourced from a number of different places and fall in to a number of different categories: malware, spyware, phishing schemes, etc. But for the sake of talking about something everyone knows, let’s start with apps. We love our apps but they’re not all as fun loving as Angry Birds.
1.) Download apps from a trusted source.
First, when it comes to apps on smartphones, download only from a trusted source - Android and Apple have both had fake apps make their way into the marketplace. Names like MacDefender and DroidDream – sound real right? One of those was an antivirus app that snuck through on the Apple side. Ask yourself… are these legitimate companies? Have I heard of them? Read the reviews, look at the number of downloads, and go on their websites.
2.) Read the permissions.
If you’re using an Android phone – before you download an app, it will tell you all the data it will be accessing. Read this. A lot of people just hit next as if they are accepting these terms as a random software update. If it is accessing all your information such as personal data and your first born, consider that a red flag.
3.) Make sure you install the latest updates.
Those annoying updates that pop up in your screen that say you need the latest 184.108.40.206.6 version should do a better job explaining themselves. Hackers can create bugs and these updates may include patches your operating system needs. Download them!
And as holiday shopping is upon us, make sure you are going to secure sites: look for https (s stands for secure) in your address bar and beware of phishing schemes and emails.
What else can I do to protect myself?
A lot depends on your platform.
If you’re an Android user – bad news for ya – you are way more susceptible to threats. According to Lookout a mobile security company; three out of ten Android owners are likely to encounter a web-based threat on their device each year and Android apps infected with malware went from 80 apps in January to over 400 apps cumulative in June 2011. This is due in part that Android is an open source. Sure, apps that are malicious get pulled down, but for some it's too late.
I recommend the Lookout app for Android users. It is free or for a premium version $30 bucks a year. It will protect against malware, spyware, will backup your phone, track it if lost and wipe your data.
iPhones (iOS) Users:
Apples operating system runs a little different and is much more secure. Plus, unlike Android there’s an approval process for apps-- and I can tell you from my friends that are app developers it’s not always an easy process to get through. While, these kind of hurdles arent always great for developers, most of the time they are good for the consumer. In terms of purchasing an iPhone antivirus, there are a couple apps in the marketplace that will scan files attached in emails searching for threats. But I think we have to be realistic; are you really going to scan every file that comes in manually in the rush of a day? I would rather not give you two subpar apps that I don't feel are worthwhile.
However, here is what I recommend:
If you have an iPhone you should download Find My iPhone. It is a free app. It will help you locate, remotely wipe or remotely lock your phone. You should also use a passcode on your phone especially when you are traveling.
Also, as previously noted, make sure you are updating. Patches are often released and you want to make sure you have the latest version.
Could you be a victim of a mobile attack?
Yes. Just remember your cell is a mini computer and if you keep treating it like one -- being smart about what you access and download-- you can continue to keep yourself safe.