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6th Regional Cyber Security Summit

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Article Details

 

Mobile Physical Security

Mobile Physical Security

Category: Mobile Security | Published Date: 24/07/2013 | Author: OCERT | Rating: Mobile Physical Security(3836 Votes)


Due to the fact that mobile devices are conveniently light and small but it also makes them more vulnerable to theft or getting lost. In the US 113 mobile phones are lost or stolen every minute! And more than 12,000 Laptops and Tablets are stolen every week!

These numbers are definitely alarming, not only because the fact that people lose their money on such devices but the fact that many sensitive information has been lost or stolen which is far more annoying and disturbing.

Some of those sensitive information could be:

  • Personal Information
  • Company information
  • Databases
  • Passwords
  • Contacts List
  • Relatives and Clients information
  • Business Plans
  • Personal Photos

“Unsecured devices are easy target for hacking”

In the past stolen mobile devices will be resold or given away, but nowadays the amount of information our mobile devices hold is huge and can be used negatively if fallen in the wrong hands. Example, your contact list will be sold to online marketing companies and they will be bothered by spam and phishing emails and annoying SMS. Or even worse you will be blackmailed with the personal photos you had in your mobile devices. Many negative scenarios can happen unless you take an action today!



Disturbing Facts

Only 4% of mobile phones and Tablets have security installed. Less than 1 in 20 devices have 3rd party security software installed. 60% of stolen or lost devices contain sensitive data.
   

Passwords

The first thing to do once you get a new mobile device is to setup its password lock and enable the auto-lock feature.
Passwords are the first line of defense so, if your mobile device doesn’t have a password please create one right now. Password protected devices will turn hackers and privacy invaders away. However, your chosen password must be a complex password!
 


What do we mean by a complex password?


Actually we encourage people to create easy to remember passwords, but we refer “complex” to the form of the password, to make it even more clear have a look at how a simple and easy to remember password can be turned into a complex password:


Original Form this is my complex password
Add an Uppercase This is my complex password
Add Digits This is my c0mplex passw0rd
Add Non-alphanumeric character Thi$ i$ my c0mplex pa$$w0rd
Complex Password Thi$ i$ my c0mplex pa$$w0rd

Complex password is a strong password and its main characteristics include:


  • At least 8 characters
  • Does not contain easy to guess words like your name, company name, username … etc
  • Does not contain complete dictionary words
  • Significantly different from previous passwords
  • Contains characters from each of the following four groups:
    • Uppercase letters
    • Lowercase letters
    • Numerals
    • Non-alphanumeric character
Auto Lock

The auto lock actually complements your newly created password as it will automatically activate the password screen after a certain amount of time of inactivity. It’s advisable to set the auto-lock to be as fast as possible but it’s totally up to you to decide when your device should auto lock.


Anti-Theft

Very interesting feature indeed but it doesn’t prevent your device from being stolen or getting lost! So what does it actually mean and do?
Back to the first paragraph of this section we have emphasized the importance of the data and the information stored in your device and that’s what anti-theft applications and features do, they protect your personal data and information when your device is stolen or lost and sometimes helps you locate your device and assist you in getting it back.


96% of people who would try to access private data when they found a stolen phone


How does it work?


Since you have protected your device with a password and enabled the auto-lock, it gives you sufficient time to interact with your stolen or lost devices remotely.

The Anti-Theft feature is an “Online Service” offered by either your device manufacturer or by a 3rd party solution provider. It basically ties your device with a local/online account that enables you to remotely access your device to carry out certain actions including:

  • Remotely Lock your phone
  • Locate your missing phone
  • Remotely wipe your phone
  • SIM Card change control
  • Sound Alarm On/Off

If your device doesn’t come with such a feature then you can download apps to carry out similar duties but be careful of suspicious or scam apps (This will be discussed in detail later in this booklet).