The world is changing, and no, we don’t mean it figuratively. This change was brought about by technology and has been for the better. The most credit goes to the current Smartphone technology. However, as the technology evolves, so do the security risks.
As previously witnessed with many other technological and non-technological innovations, the destructive nature of some individuals compels them to find ways to exploit and abuse a good thing for their own ulterior motives and ruin it for everyone, and the same holds true for smart devices, as well.
Our Marriage to Technology
Beginning with Personal Data Assistants (PDAs), introduced in late ‘90s to the multi-functional smart devices we have now, rapid technological innovations have blurred the virtual boundaries between our home and office by providing instant access to the internet and email.
It doesn't stop here; these advancements have also enabled more complex tasks to be performed on mobile devices, leading to the development and deployment of new mobile business applications. This in turn has allowed us the comfort of accessing, computing, and storing highly-sensitive data on our Smartphones.
It is exactly where the element of risk rears its ugly head.
The Honeymoon Period is OVER!
Increasing computing capabilities has made smart devices an integral part of how an organization's workforce accomplishes its tasks. Unfortunately, the increased usage of smart gadgets has presented itself as a prime, and somewhat easy, target for hackers to steal the data stored on these devices.
Pertaining to the increasing risks of unauthorized data access, many organizations are extremely concerned about how to effectively secure data that interacts with mobile devices – especially in relation to the rising trend of Bring Your Own Devices (BOYD).
It’s Time to Understand Each Other
The first step towards reducing risks of smart devices security is to understand them; and understanding them begins with something as simple as paying attention. To illustrate our point, allow us to present to you an experiment which was recently conducted in London by F-Secure – a technology security company.
Let’s Experiment A Little
As part of the experiment, the company set up a free Wi-Fi hotspot in a small cafe housed in a busy financial district close to the Houses of Parliament in London. In order to log on to the free Wi-Fi hotspot, Londoners were required to agree to a simple set of terms and conditions.
Simple enough, right? No, because here is where things went horribly wrong. The company intended to prove its point regarding how careless people are while using their Smartphones and how vulnerable they are to attackers and hackers.
Key Tip: Don’t Sell Your First Born!
The simple set of terms and conditions to access the free Wi-Fi hotspot included a “Herod clause,” and according to the clause, the free connectivity was provided only if “the recipient agreed to assign their first born child to us for the duration of eternity.”
Shocking, isn't it? And that too in a city like London? The security company revealed that their experiment was specifically designed to highlight “the total disregard for computer security by people when they are mobile.” But what’s more shocking is the fact that within 30 minutes of going live, the free Wi-Fi hotspot had 250 devices connected to it. And while these devices were connected to the hotspot, the company had unrestricted access to emails and passwords stored on the connected devices.
Don’t Be A Slave To Your Urges…
“At best, your device is only leaking information about you and at worst, your passwords are being spilled into a publicly accessible space…anybody on the network can see your information. The problem is that people implicitly trust their technology and are not aware of the implications of that trust. There is an insatiable pursuit of bandwidth, driven mainly by the desire to have video, data-rich apps and super-fast website performance on the move. This appetite for bandwidth … has blinded consumers to the risks that they are taking. In pursuit of free bandwidth, people are prepared to do anything as our experiment showed with its draconian terms and conditions.”
Now you see why we're saying that the reduction of the security risks of smart devices begins with understanding them, and understanding begins when you simply pay attention to the terms and conditions that accompany apps, software and hardware.
A Great Marriage Needs a Careful Hand
It doesn't take a rocket scientist to arrive at the conclusion that the key to a successful marriage between us and technology requires us to be smart. A smart device doesn't make you smart. To be smart means to be vigilant, and being vigilant begins when you stop trusting anything and everything that comes your way or is available for free. We now wish you a safe, secure and risk-free married life! 😉