Focus on Mobile Security: Smart Phones
It keeps you connected with friends, entertains you, lets you edit a document on the run, tells you where you are, helps you remember who directed that film you saw last night, and it fits nicely in the palm of your hand. Smartphones are the next generation of mobile devices that offer the kind of functionality once only found on a computer.
As handheld mobile devices become ever more sophisticated, more of our work and personal information is stored on these small and familiar modern miracles. So familiar in fact that they tend to be casually tossed onto a table, into a bag or stuffed in a pocket. All that information -- your calendar, contacts, documents -- and it can be so easily lost, filched or even hacked.
» The following April 08 news story on smartphone security describes their growing popularity as well as risks, which include viruses and malware.
How to protect yourself? Since smartphones vary significantly by make, model, version, operating system, application, service vendor and the interaction of each of these factors, you will need to consult your phone's manual for specifics on how best to care for it. There are, however, some general tips that can apply to most phones:
- Keep it in sight, within reach, or on your person. And be careful if lending it to others. It may never leave your sight, but your good deed could turn sour when some of your personal information walks away with that stranger.
- Lock it with a password. Check your phone's manual for details.
- Keep it's software current. Security flaws can and do occur. See the article Security Flaw Is Revealed in T-Mobile’s Google Phone or Security Vendors Ready Fix for 'Curse of Silence' SMS Attack for recent examples.
- Where applicable, run anti-virus software. For example, Norton Smartphone Security supports Windows Mobile and Symbian phones.
- Consider installing anti-theft/data protection software. See the Firewall Guide's " Mobile Security -- Laptop, PDA & Smartphone" for product suggestions.
- Data delete option. Some phones, like the BlackBerry, include a remote data deletion option (coordinated through the server administrator) should your phone be stolen and you wish to erase confidential or personal data. Others allow the installation of software, such as Aiko Solutions Secuwipe.
These tips should look familiar, like what you are doing now to protect your laptop. Bottom line: Just treat your smartphone as you would your computer.
In addition, we offer the following information specific to three smartphone operating systems:
Apple / iPhone » A collection of tips, a video, and link to updates.
- Apple iPhone Software updates site
- Six Essential Apple iPhone Security Tips (10/12/08)
- iPhone Passcode setting demo (JBass350z video)
- Apple plugs a dozen iPhone Security holes (SecurityFocus, 11/21/08)
- Eight Easy Steps to iPhone Security (Tom Yager, InfoWorld, 12/08/08)
- Verify security software
- How to change the password on the BlackBerry device
- How to reset the password on the BlackBerry device
- Clear the Email Messages database
- How to delete all data, or all data and applications on the BlackBerry device
- Prevent Bluetooth® device discovery when within range
- How to enable SIM card security
Windows Mobile » Microsoft's tips on how to reduce threats posed by unwelcome access, accidental erasure and corrupted files, phone loss, theft, and damage
- Download Windows Mobile updates
- Lock you SIM card by using a PIN
- Install security software
- Lock your phone by using a PIN
- Encrypt a storage card
- Delete files from your phone
- Linux Smartphones (runs on Motorola, NEC, Panasonic, Samsung and others)
- Palm / Garnet OS (runs on some versions of Lenova, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Tungsten). Palm's newly-released phone, the Pre, runs on a new OS (Web OS). Some, like the Palm Centro (Palm OS), offer a variety of data security applications.
- Symbian (OS for such phones as Lenovo, Motorola, Nokia, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Siemens, and Sony-Ericsson)