7 Risks Associated With Your Data on Mobile Devices

7 Risks Associated With Your Data on Mobile Devices

Devices such as handsets, smartphones, tablets and phablets as well as wearable technological devices such as smart watches, smart bands and smart keychains have found irreplaceable space in our business as well as our personal lives.

“Today there are an estimated 10 billion devices currently connected to the Internet as the Internet of Things is slowly taking shape.”

Consumer’s privacy and safety concerns have become the talk of the town ever since. Survey suggests that current internet marketing and privacy standards do not adequately address the specific challenges faced by consumers when it comes to mobile security specifically.

We must know that smart-phones and tablets have become an important aspect of complex corporate world. When a mobile device is lost the security of the entire corporate firm can be compromised and it can put the very person losing the mobile into a lot of trouble. As the number of devices grow, volume of the data grows and so does the amount of threats which leads to the one important question- how to deal with data security on mobile devices?

Mobile devices have become more and more sophisticated by allowing internet surfing, promoting file transferring, allowing images sharing and integrating many other complex features alongside running most day-to-day applications in parallel. This gives rise to new security risks and therefore data protection becomes an alarming situation for mobile users. Also, tech-gurus explains that mobile phones are slowly starting to take over from laptops as the most popular devices. Indeed the mobile world seems to become a soft target and is turning out to be the hottest target for cybercriminals.

You must know that your mobile device can share all sorts of personal information with absolute strangers, especially via the most common apps which you usually download.

This blog will primarily and precisely discuss where do the risks lie for your mobile business.

Associated Risks:

1. Stored Data on the Device: Smart-phones and tablets are attractive targets for criminals, not only because there is a ready market for stolen devices but also because the data held in these devices is very valuable. The increased storage capacity magnifies the risk. Tablets store up to 128Gb of data while most smart-phones store just about 64Gb. So there is an obvious threat to voluminous data stored on your mobile device which can have direct and strong impact on your mobile security.

2. Remotely held data: Smart-phones are bridgeheads to corporate systems and cloud applications. Whenever a smart-phone or tablet is in wrong hands it can open the door to critical back-office systems.

3. Data in transit: Data which flows wirelessly via not-really-fool-proof secure communications channels such as Wi-Fi hotspots are vulnerable to unethical interceptions. Most applications using wireless transmission do not encrypt the data they transmit or the data they receive over the network which makes them susceptible to unexpected hijacks. This can be explained like this: if an application is transmitting data over an unencrypted Wi-Fi network using http (rather than secure http), the data can be easily intercepted. There are also potential dangers around the short-range wireless capabilities of mobile devices, which include channels such as Bluetooth, NFC (near-field communication) and RFID (radio-frequency identification).

4. Theft of mobile devices: One of the primary risks of mobile data threat is the worldwide growing problem of the theft of mobile devices. According to 2012/13 Crime Surveys for England and Wales, there have been about 7,42,000 victims of mobile phone thefts. In UK alone, almost 100,000 mobile phones were reported stolen to the Metropolitan Police Service (MPS) during 2013. In New Delhi, a mobile phone was reported stolen every hour during 2014!

5. Accidental loss of mobile devices: Forgetting the smart-phone or tablet in trains or flights or in a restaurant usually means you are not likely to see it ever again. A recent research project revealed that 96 per cent of lost smart-phones were accessed by the person who found the device and 83 per cent of them accessed business-related apps trying to retrieve sensitive information. Even if the device is returned, you cannot be sure what all information has been compromised.

6. Discarded/disposed/sold device: This seems less obvious but actually we should know that there are hacks to retrieve the deleted data from devices. Reports shows that the average phone is used for just 18 months by its owner. When a phone is no longer needed by its owner, it is sent off for recycling, sold off or handed over to family or friends. Though there is little risk associated with the data that it once had, this can be a dangerous thing that may be overlooked for professionals from corporate backgrounds. The owner is often unaware that there is a problem until it is too late.

7. Threat to Malicious software: Consumers must be aware that malicious viruses, worms and Trojans, which are collectively known as malware, can infect their phones in many ways including corrupt multimedia messages, harmful applications or web downloads. Cybercrime is now mobile enabled and therefore hackers target confidential mobile data. Spy-tools can now be installed physically on the victim’s phone to monitor and record all the actions on a mobile phone which include voice calls, SMS, multimedia and e-mail messages.

By now you must have well understood that there are quite many risks associated with your mobile devices and its data in an otherwise deceivingly sweet world. When we ponder over the motive of the offender it varies from trying to steal your identity, serving the vested interests of business competitors, earning bucks by selling photos and videos on the internet or probably just pursuing some personal vendetta. Even though Mobile security and data protection vendors offer solutions to maximize your security and minimize risks, it is advised to keep your mobile devices and data password protected.

Very soon I will be writing a blog on the many simple and complex ways that can help you to stay more secure and confident about what you should do with your data, where you can put it and how you can go about sharing it. We will discuss in brief about various forms of encryption techniques to secure your data on your mobile devices. You can also contact us for consultation

So for now, be safe, stay vigilant, and know your phone better cause as they say- prevention is better than cure…


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Rachit Agarwal

Rachit Agarwal

Director and Co-Founder at Algoworks Technologies
Rachit is leading the mobility business development function, mobility strategy and consulting practice at Algoworks. He is an expert of all mobile technologies and has experience in managing teams involved in the development of custom iPhone/iPad/Android apps.
Rachit Agarwal

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Rachit Agarwal7 Risks Associated With Your Data on Mobile Devices