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Cyber Security Awareness

Are Phones and Devices High-Risk Points?

By February 2, 2016 No Comments

cyber-feb-2016-2Here’s the irony when it comes to phones, tablets and other wireless devices: They’re less likely to be hacked, and more likely to compromise your sensitive information.

Why? Well… they’re easier to lose.

Good luck losing a desktop computer. Besides the fact that we tend to leave those at home, you’re going to remember where you put that thing after you break your back lugging it around, and it’s not going to be easy for someone to snatch it up off of your desk when you’re not looking.

Smartphones and tablets, on the other hand, wind up causing leaks all the time. It’s probably safe to say that more leaks come from lost phones and devices than from actual hacking. That’s not to say that hacking and malware aren’t a threat, only that a wireless device’s relatively resistant nature to cyber-threats is not something that makes these devices any less high-risk than your office network or home computer.

But, let’s reconsider the assumption that devices are relatively impervious to cyber-attacks. Does this actually hold up, or is it just good marketing? Let’s take two key points into account:

  1. Devices haven’t been around for as long as laptop and desktop PC’s. This means that there are fewer viruses out there designed to attack Android and iPhone operating systems.
  2. That doesn’t mean device-hackers aren’t catching up.

The general shift in computer culture right now is away from the keyboard and the monitor, and towards the device that fits in the pocket or the purse. Even in techier circles, you might walk into an office and not find a single old-school PC, Mac or Laptop. More people are using devices, fewer people are using laptops and desktops, and this means that the hackers developing new malware and looking for security gaps are going to be shifting their attention towards devices. As of the time of this writing, phones and tablets are relatively strong against cyber-threats primarily because they have fewer threats to contend with, but this won’t be the case for much longer. The short answer is that devices are not especially high risk when it comes to cyber attacks, but we’ll see what 2016 has in store for us.

Right now, there’s not a whole lot we can do about this but practice the same common sense as you would on your PC or laptop. There are antivirus apps available for most phones, but the unfortunate truth is that developers are still learning how to keep these devices safe, so these apps aren’t always effective. This means that it’s down to the user to understand that passwords and other sensitive data aren’t that much safer on the Android than they are on the Asus.

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