Today’s workforce is more agile than ever before as technology transforms the way we do business. Thanks to Wi-Fi and mobile devices, employees are often encouraged to work from anywhere or bring their own devices into the office. But with this newfound flexibility comes new risks.
While many companies are making the move to mobile, so are cyber criminals. Below are a few reasons crafty hackers are specifically drawn to mobile devices and what you can do to insulate yourself against this growing threat.
Unprotected Wi-Fi: Remote employees love free Wi-Fi, but many are completely unaware of the risks of joining an unfamiliar connection. Cyber eavesdroppers can often steal information in transit over insecure Wi-Fi connections, even if the data is being sent to a secure network. Especially cunning hackers may even set up a phony hotspot to snare unsuspecting users and pilfer their most valuable data. Don’t conflate ‘work from anywhere’ with ‘work from any connection!’
If you want to connect to the internet safely and privately, update your Wi-Fi settings to block open sharing with other devices. Consider using a Virtual Private Network or VPN to turn your public connection into a personal one. Finally, turn off your Wi-Fi connection when you are not using it. This will reduce the time available for hackers to penetrate your firewall.
Image source Flickr
Trojan Horse Apps: Sad to say, many of the consumer apps available for download on the app store are downright dangerous — either because they are unguarded or malicious. Phony flashlight and calculator apps, for example, have been known to contain spyware which tracks a user’s keystrokes or phone calls, and can even be used to listen in on their conversations or sell personal information to advertisers.
Mobile app security depends on a keen eye and warry thumb. If an app doesn’t seem right, don’t click it. Don’t just trust the reviews, be on the lookout for grammatical or spelling errors, unnecessary permissions or apps which eat up a considerable amount for no discernable reason. Take notice of these red flags to better protect your mobile app security.
Losing Your Phone: It seems all too obvious, but one of the easiest ways to open yourself up to digital infiltration is to drop your phone in a public place. If you haven’t locked your device with a PIN or password, a single swipe is all it takes. Does your phone or tablet connect to your email, social media, banking and box services? Too bad, because a smart hacker will have no trouble stealing your identity, locking your social pages, vandalizing your finances and transferring your business data to god-knows-where.
Remember, protecting your phone means implementing safeguards before you lose it. Always lock your devices using a PIN, password or thumbprint. While it’s not perfect, it might be enough to discourage some thieves. Download device locator or remote wipe apps to keep your information from falling into the wrong hands.
Mobile Phishing & Spoofing: The majority of hackers prefer to use methods tried and true, and no attack is more common than phishing attacks. While phishing scams are still used to swipe personal account information and login credentials through spam emails and bogus sign-in pages, some cybercriminals have updated their techniques for the mobile age.
Beware of SMS or text messages containing web links from unknown sources. You could be putting your mobile app security at risk. The same can be said for social media sites as devious cyber crooks masquerade as a familiar user or company. If you are unsure about a link, avoid it or communicate your concerns to the sender in person to avoid catastrophe.
Protecting yourself from digital intrusion is not only important to your own security, but also for the safety of your business, your customers and your partners. Safeguard your mobile devices using the tips above and stay educated about up-and-coming threats. After all, the world of mobile security is still in hot competition with hackers and cybercriminals around the world.
Facebook will allow app developers to advertise their products on its members’ mobile-device news feeds.
The network will charge a fee for every time users click on the ads to download the software from elsewhere.
Facebook had previously warned its financial health would suffer if it could not find ways to make money out its mobile users.
Its shares have nearly halved in price since its flotation, costing investors a total of about $50 billion.
Details of the latest move were revealed on the site’s developers blog.
It invites software developers to sign up to a “beta” test in which they can decide whether to target users of Apple’s iOS App Store or Android’s Google Play store.
Facebook will allow app developers to advertise their products on its members' mobile-device news feeds
A “power editor” option can also allow users to be targeted on the basis of what other apps they have downloaded within Facebook.
For example if they have played Disney’s Gardens of Times on their laptop via the network, they might then be offered other hidden-object games when using Facebook’s smartphone app.
If a user clicks on one of the links, they will be redirected to the appropriate app store where they can purchase the software.
Facebook will charge advertisers for every click made, and allows them to set a maximum budget.
The move is Facebook’s latest effort to make money from its mobile users.
It said it had 543 million active members using the site via a mobile phone or tablet at the end of June.
It has previously experimented with a number of other formats, including paid-for “Pages You May Like”.
It also introduced Sponsored Stories to its mobile app earlier in the year.
These are posts created by an advertiser that appear if a “friend” or page the user is connected to shares the material. By paying a fee, the business or organization can increase the likelihood their posts will be seen.
The site’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, said it was making about $500,000 worth of sales through mobile Sponsored Stories every day at the end of June.
“People who use our mobile services are more active Facebook users than people who only use our desktop services,” Mark Zuckerberg said, explaining why it was important for his firm to focus on the sector.
“On average, mobile users are around 20% more likely to use Facebook on any given day.”
The firm’s chief financial officer, David Ebersman, added that daily web views in some developed markets had started to decline in favor of mobile use.
He said this could be why it was experiencing “flat” payment revenues – cash raised by taking a cut of fees charged on its site.
Although Facebook does allow users to download and play games on its mobile apps, most have ignored the option and download third-party titles via Apple or Google’s stores, even if they first heard about the software via Facebook.
“In the past 30 days, we have sent people to the Apple App Store and Google Play 146 million times, via clicks from channels such as news feed, timeline, bookmarks and App Center,” Facebook said in its developers blog.
American transportation safety regulators want to ban the use of mobile devices while driving, going so far as to say they should never be used in cars unless in case of emergency.
The National Transportation Board said Tuesday that states should ban all driver use of cell phones and other portable electronic devices, even including hands-free devices.
NTSB made the radical recommendation following a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year when a 19-year-old pickup driver sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before the crash which killed him and a 15-year-old student.
The pickup, travelling at 55 miles per hour, collided into the back of a tractor truck before the pickup was rear-ended by a school bus that overrode the smaller vehicle, and a second school bus rammed into the back of the first bus.
NTSB made the radical recommendation following a deadly highway pileup in Missouri last year when a 19-year-old pickup driver sent or received 11 texts in the 11 minutes immediately before the crash which killed him and a 15-year-old student
The recommendation, unanimously agreed to by the five-member board, significantly exceeds any existing state laws restricting texting and cell phone use behind the wheel.
While the NTSB doesn’t have the power to impose restrictions, its recommendations carry significant weight with federal regulators and congressional and state lawmakers.
NTSB has previously recommended bans on texting and cell phone use by commercial truck and bus drivers and beginning drivers, but it has stopped short of calling for a ban on the use of the devices by adults behind the wheel of passenger cars.
The problem of texting while driving is getting worse despite a rush by states to ban the practice, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood said last week. In November, Pennsylvania became the 35th state to forbid texting while driving.
About two out of 10 American drivers overall – and half of drivers between 21 and 24 – say they’ve thumbed messages or emailed from the driver’s seat, according to a survey of more than 6,000 drivers by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Even more, many drivers don’t think it’s dangerous when they do it – only when others do, the survey found.
At any given moment last year on US streets and highways, nearly 1 in every 100 car drivers was texting, emailing, surfing the Web or otherwise using a handheld electronic device, the safety administration said. And those activities spiked 50 per cent over the previous year.
Driver distraction wasn’t the only significant safety problem uncovered by NTSB’s investigation of the Missouri accident.
Investigators said they believe the pickup driver was suffering from fatigue that may have eroded his judgment at the time of the accident. He had an average of about five and a half hours of sleep a night in the days leading up to the accident and had had fewer than five hours of sleep the night before the accident, they said.
Regardless of the personal contributions to the accident, the fatal Missouri crash is a “big red flag for all drivers”, NTSB chairman Deborah Hersman said at a meeting to determine the cause of the accident and make safety recommendations.
It is not possible to know from cell phone records if the driver was typing, reaching for the phone or reading a text at the time of the crash, but it’s clear he was manually, cognitively and visually distracted, she said.
“Driving was not his only priority,” Deborah Hersman said.
“No call, no text, no update is worth a human life.”
Missouri had a law banning drivers under 21 years old from texting while driving at the time of the crash, but wasn’t aggressively enforcing the ban, board member Robert Sumwalt said.
“Without the enforcement, the laws don’t mean a whole lot,” Robert Sumwalt said.