How to Safeguard Your Mobile Privacy

Written by Doug Bernard
FILE - In this Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, file photo, the iPhone 6 plus, left, and iPhone 6 are displayed, in Cupertino, Calif.

FILE – In this Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014, file photo, the iPhone 6 plus, left, and iPhone 6 are displayed, in Cupertino, Calif.

A great deal has been written over the years about the necessity of computer users to be proactive if they want to guard their privacy and keep their machines clean of viruses. Habits such as changing passwords, updating software, running anti-virus and using encryption when possible are often referred to as “good web hygiene.”

But as the use of mobile phones and other devices has skyrocketed, users often have failed to transfer these precautions to the mobile digital environment, leaving millions vulnerable.

This was put on display in the fall of 2014 during the “Occupy Central” protests in Hong Kong, as Chinese hackers flooded protestors’ phones with a variety of malware.

Some phone manufacturers have stepped in to fill the security gap.

For example, Apple now automatically offers end-to-end encryption for iMessage and FaceTime, as well as offering a range of other encryption services and applications.

But most security analysts say these steps aren’t enough, and that mobile phone and tablet users around the world need to step up and take more responsibility for keeping themselves safe and secure in the wireless world.

Passcode

The first step is with the device itself.

The latest versions of the world’s three most common mobile operating systems, Google’s Android, Apple’s iOS and Microsoft’s Windows Phone, already offer complete encryption as an option. It’s activated in different ways, but common to all is that users create a passcode they must enter every time they power up or unlock their phones.

Once encryption is enabled and tied to the passcode, all data on the device will be encrypted and unreadable without the passcode.

This means it’s important for users to choose a code that will be sufficiently challenging to crack. A simple four-digit code is practically meaningless; a 15-character code that uses digits, upper- and lower-case letters, and symbols would be magnitudes harder to break.

Downloading Apps, remote wipe

Users should also be careful when and where they download apps or document attachments. Applications downloaded from Apple’s iTunes or Google’s Play Store are generally fairly secure, but downloading from other services can be an iffy proposition. As always, it’s not a good idea to download any email attachments you didn’t specifically ask for.

Anti-virus packages are available for mobile phones, but security analysts are roughly split on whether they would be required for the majority of phones. What is recommended, however, is for users to install some sort of “remote-wipe” application, which would allow a user to remotely erase all the phone’s data in case it’s stolen.

Secure WiFi

Mobile phones traditionally connect to the world by two means: wireless phone service for actual phone use, and a wireless local area network, or WLAN, for Internet and data. Tablets mostly just use a WLAN. Both the phone service and WLAN use provide potential security holes, but many of those can be mitigated.

First, when connecting to a WLAN using WiFi, users should choose their service carefully. In crowded urban environments, it’s not uncommon for phones to sniff out 20 or more WiFi services with decent signal strength. If possible, users should only connect to secure WiFi services; these are denoted by a locked padlock icon and require some type of password to access.

Free, open WiFi services – those available to anyone without any passcode – should be avoided if at all possible. It’s simply too easy for a bad guy on open WiFi to break into others also online and create havoc.

SMS

Text messages (SMS), which are transmitted via the phone service, are relatively (but not completely) secure from infections. But as with actual phone calls, they can be intercepted by third parties.

There are numerous apps available designed to keep text messages private and secure. WhatsApp is one of the most popular around the world, logging around 700 million users worldwide, with more users in India than in any other country.

The app by-passes the mobile phone service, using the Internet to send and receive secure text, photos and video in what it calls “chats.” Other selling points are its ease of use and low price, costing just $1 a year.

Its parent company, Facebook, says WhatsApp chat sessions are completely secure; however a handful of high-profile security breaches beginning in 2010 have raised concerns among privacy advocates.

Encryption Apps

For the more security minded, some users have moved to TextSecure, an open-source text encryption app produced by Whisper Systems, a data security company endorsed by no less than former NSA contractor Edward Snowden. It offers end-to-end encryption for users running TextSecure for text, audio, video, and images.

Whisper Systems engineers say that in addition to robust encryption, the app offers a user verification system to prevent man-in-the-middle attacks.

Whisper Systems also has an app for securing mobile phone calls. Called RedPhone, the app was aimed at first specifically for people who live under repressive governments that routinely tap and monitor phone calls.

RedPhone uses the Internet for end-to-end encryption of real-time two-way voice conversations between two RedPhone users. Additionally, two matching words appear on both phones during the call, allowing the users themselves to verify a secure, encrypted connection. RedPhone has proven to be very popular in a number of nations, including Venezuela and Egypt.

Another popular application, Ostel, is an outgrowth of the Guardian Project, a cooperative venture to develop applications that secure users’ privacy. Like RedPhone, Ostel uses VoIP (“Voice over Internet Protocol”) for end-to-end encryption between Ostel users; an additional benefit is that there are no costs for long-distance or international calls.

Finally, for users who want proven Internet security for their mobile Android device, and don’t mind giving away a little speed of access, there’s Orbot. Essentially Tor for mobile, it’s just like its online counterpart, routing all text, Internet and email data through a randomized series of computers.

Like Tor, Orbot offers users some of the strongest privacy protection to be found – but it comes at a cost. Because the user’s data is being routed through a shifting set of nodes on the Tor network, Orbot can significantly slow down uploads and downloads. It’s not for everyone, but for those who want to remain as anonymous as possible, it’s just about the best bet available.

 

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2014 Out with the Old and in with the New

January 2014     E-News   
Mobile IT, Inc.
 Microsoft Colors

2014 Out with the Old and in with the New

       Let’s talk about software upgrades . . . .

As we celebrate a new year, many people reflect on the past year’s accomplishments or failures. While others set goals for the year with the desire to start anew. Windows has announced that support will end on April 8, 2014 for Windows XP SP3 and Office 2003. This is not because they wanted to, it’s based on their support life cycle policy. This deadline also includes companies that developed software for XP.

Windows 7 or Windows 8 are acceptable versions to use. If your business is still using an older version of Windows and you wish to continue obtaining Microsoft patch upgrades or support, start planning and testing immediately. The average deployment can take 18 to 32 months (Time based on Enterprise wide upgrades).  Failure to act on this could expose your business to risks when using the internet. ASK ME WHY!

 

Are you suddenly puzzled, 
confused and asking yourself:
1) Do I have Windows XP or something else?
2) If I do have Windows XP, then how do I get it changed?
3) If I do, then what are the costs associated with the change?
4) What are the risks if I don’t get it changed?
5) What’s the difference between Windows 7 and Windows 8?
Start the New Year off right by ensuring the safety of your business. Mobile IT, Inc. will provide expert advice, answers to your questions and valuable guidance.  ACT NOW!

Mobile IT, Inc.
“Bringing Simplicity to Mobility”
About Mobile IT, Inc.
IT support and computer system consultants specializing in virtual helpdesk support, cloud services, network/server management, virtualization and business continuity since 2003 in Atlanta, across America and around the world. 

 

 

 

www.mobileit-usa.com



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Contributor Rhonda Mack
Office  404-814-5255  /  Support Line  770-465-6147
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Hurricane Preparedness

 

 

 

Mobile IT, Inc.

“Bringing Simplicity to Mobility”

  

Lose It or Save It – It’s Your Choice

 

Remember all of the HYPE generated with the pending millennium and how all of the HYPE generated was for absolutely nothing. Well it’s hurricane season and that’s definitely a reason to generate the HYPE.  And for good reason – Typhoon Haiyan recently reminded residents of the Philippines how dangerous and damaging strong winds can be. Hurricanes have winds exceeding 74 miles per hour, with rain, thunder and lightning.  Storms of this severity can cause flooding, water damage, power outages, and the list goes on. If you’re not prepared, then you, your business or your family may suffer loss.

  

Every business should have a continuity of operations in place (aka recovery plan) in the event of such unfortunate loss. Your computers, ipads, and servers should be protected. Mandatory annual drills should be required and your equipment serviced to make sure you’re prepared. Even though the Atlantic hurricane season continues through November 30th make sure your data and electronic devices are safe all year round for all types of weather. 

  

Contact Mobile IT, Inc. to explore secure & safety measures for all your electronic devices.  Mobile IT, Inc. has affordable business continuity plans and backup plans for critical data files.

 

 

Office:  404-814-5255 | Support Line: 770-465-6147
November 2013 | Contributor: Rhonda Mack

 



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NOW SERVING. . . Mobile Power

Mobile IT, Inc.
“Bringing Simplicity to Mobility”
August 2013
E-News
In This Issue

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IT support and computer system consultants specializing in network/server management, cloud services, virtual helpdesk support, virtualization and business continuity since 2003 in Atlanta, across America and around the world.
 
Contributor: Rhonda Mack

THIS MONTH’S FEATURED DISH
Cotton balls, cotton candy, marshmallows and mashed potatoes all are fluffy. Most of these items come in white and resemble the clouds in the sky. So what is this thing called cloud computing?
    Cloud Computing versus    Conventional Computing
Cloud computing provides services to your business through the internet from a remote location. It has gained attention among large corporations, enabling a workplace with anytime & anywhere choices.

NOW SERVING. . .  Mobile Power
What does using cloud technologies mean for your business?  There is one very important commonality among most businesses; no longer having to deal with the issue of maintaining on premise servers but still benefiting from the ever-changing world of technology.
It’s not just for large corporations anymore, small businesses are cashing in on the benefits too.  Businesses are using iPads, tablets even smart phones to replace cash registers, and PCs.  Even receipts can be received by email using cloud apps. Some restaurants have eliminated paper menus altogether enabling customers the fun of viewing menus using smart phones.  It makes ordering food uniquely yours and less tedious and a whole lot more convenient.
Read the hyperlink below and expand your mobile freedom.
 

Taking Reservations
Digital MenuMobile IT, Inc. is offering a method of cloud computing powered by Citrix called XenApp and XenDesktop services.  Your work is continuously backed up in our data vault.  Or simply just have your business apps follow you on smartphones, tablets or any mobile devices.
If you have been considering cloud computing and are not quite sure if it’s for you then contact Mobile IT for 10% off a leasing plan just for mentioning this ad. 
Sincerely,

Anthony Fuller
Mobile IT, Inc.

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Office 404-814-5255      Support Line 770-465-6147
Mobile IT, Inc. | 3340 Peachtree Road, Suite 1800 | Atlanta | GA | 30326
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Do You Have a Mobile Defense System in Place?

 

If your desktop computers are a security risk then your mobile devices are
at risk too. As the nation’s employers incorporate teleworking (working
offsite) for employees, teleworking  presents a higher security risk.
Many organizations have become concerned with the potential loss of
company or customer data. A loss of any kind can be detrimental to the
operation of a business. Lost and stolen devices are also a major issue.

There are consumer concerns as well when it comes to mobile payments,
shopping and banking. Did you know, your mobile device can be hacked
without your knowledge? A hacker can eavesdrop on your passwords, call
histories, emails, & etc. without you experiencing any changes to
your mobile phone.

Contact Mobile IT , Inc. at 404-814-5255 to learn more about the security risks and ways to prevent them.

Contributor: Rhonda Mack

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Working Mobile is Smart and Increases Productivity!

January 20, 2013 | By

Around 59 percent of knowledge workers said that the use of smartphones and tablets increases their productivity and 27 percent said that working remotely makes work easier, according to a survey conducted by IDC on behalf of Samsung of knowledge workers.

A majority of knowledge workers said that mobility is important for them to do their jobs, with 13.5 percent noting that it is “mission critical,”

More than one-third of workers said that their biggest challenge at work is not having access to necessary information remotely when they need it.

In addition, working in the cloud has become the norm for 45 percent of knowledge workers, and 36 percent would prefer that their company adopt cloud technologies.

A surprising 22 percent of knowledge workers said that the IT tools at work were worse than those they had at home, 49 percent said that IT tools at work were “okay,” while only 20 percent thought their IT tools at work were “awesome.”

A disturbing 65 percent of knowledge workers said that their company does not have a BYOD policy, with only 22 percent responding that they do have a BYOD policy at work.

This supports other surveys conducted about BYOD policies. According to a survey conducted by IDC on behalf of Samsung, less than one-third of companies had BYOD policies in place.

Not having a BYOD policy in place opens up enterprises to a “security nightmare,”Harry Sverdlove, chief technology officer at security firm Bit9. In a recent blog, Sverdlove said that companies without BYOD policies risk losing control over business data and being the target of attacks that steal data.

Companies that do not have BYOD policies in place are increasing the risks to their data and networks from employees bringing their mobile devices to work, with or without the permission of the IT department.

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