According to experts, the data capacity and portability of mobile devices are bringing about a series of significant security issues.
Assistant vice president of Aon Risk Solutions, Sarah Stephens, a San-Francisco-based unit of Aon Corp., pointed out that people set the devices down and leave them unattended. That said, the greater the storage capacity of the devices, the more sensitive information is frequently stored within them, and the greater the risk if the device be misplaced or stolen. This was explained by Stephens at the first Cyber & Privacy Risk Conference by International Risk Management Institute Inc.
She also added that “Often, we don’t even have passwords protecting our phones unless it’s mandated by corporate policies.” Moreover, with the current GPS, gyroscope, and high resolution camera technologies, the security risks grow even further. Mobile devices can offer criminals a tremendous advantage for accessing sensitive personal or business data.
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Stephens explained that cyber crime is now taking a significant shift toward mobile devices. They are capable of transmitting a tremendous amount of personal information – including location and, in a growing number of cases, financial data – without requiring authorization from the appropriate user.
It is for precisely this reason that mobile payment apps – a rapidly growing feature that allows mobile devices to be used as a wallet, where products and services can be purchased through their use – were compared, by Stephens, to the Wild West.
She also pointed out that issues with privacy can occur if employers use the devices to track their workers’ locations. That said, she illustrated a number of steps that can be taken to minimize the misuse of tracking applications. This includes requiring employers to provide detailed notice about their intentions to track their employees and to avoid lying about taking part in the activity. As much as possible, she recommends that employers should limit the tracking to the employee’s working hours, and to obtain written consent whenever possible.