Don’t let mobility be your Achilles’ heel

Security & Privacy

We are not living in the Internet era anymore, we are in the mobility era. At least I use my desktop computer less and less, and spend more and more of my on-line time on mobile devices. They are just so convenient. You can utilize spare time on the bus or train to check up on the latest news. And the tablet is even more convenient than a newspaper. A shower is probably the only activity at home when you can’t use the tablet at the same time. Sorry honey, spending quality time with the family is of course also no-gadget time.

Mobility is convenient, but what about security? Am I not better off when I can leave all the viruses behind in my old Windows PC? Well, yes and no. Mobile devices have some clear benefits over our traditional desktops and laptops. The two main benefits are that the mobile operating systems are more modern and designed with security in mind. And that application distribution is centralized to operating system specific stores. These stores can, if they do their work properly, protect you by rejecting harmful apps. A monopolized place for app purchase is not a great idea for you as a consumer, but it has clear benefits security-wise.

But hold on. That’s not the full story, it’s just the upside of our new mobile gadgets. The bad guys have not been resting and there’s still a lot of things that can go wrong if you think your mobile device is invincible.

  • The dominating operating system, Windows, became the main target for malware authors. History is repeating itself and the biggest mobile platform, Android, is quickly catching up. So we can start by debunking a myth. Yes, you can get viruses on your mobile. At least if you have an Android device.
  • Mobile phones have an integrated payment method, your phone bill. This is great news for the bad guys who manage to infect mobile phones. Expensive calls or messages to totally unknown service numbers will come as an unpleasant surprise.
  • Your mobile device becomes your password manager, but is often poorly protected itself. Some even use it without a password! Your device is logged into all your services like mail, calendar, Facebook, Twitter, Google, Youtube, Whatsapp etc. Imagine how much damage can be done if someone gets access to all those accounts at once.
  • It’s not just your mail and social media accounts. Your mobile device may be logged into your cloud services, which in turn contains backups of all your traditional computers. Your mobile in the wrong hands can leak out files that you have on your desktop or laptop computer.
  • Many threats today are device independent. They utilize the fact that the weakest link, the user, in present no matter what device is used. Imagine a phishing mail that tricks the user to log into something that looks like the credit card company’s web portal. The web page is in reality run by the criminal, who gets the victim’s account info with password and all. That works regardless what device you are using.

The cloud era calls for a new way to think about your security. The cloud with all your precious data is in the middle, and your devices are the perimeter that need to be guarded. Each device provides a path into your data, which can be used by you and misused by others. It’s like having a house with several doors. There’s no point locking just one of them and leave the others open. But that is exactly what we do if we install protection software on the desktop or laptop, but forget about our gadgets.

We at F-Secure want to make it easy to lock all doors, and that’s why we made F-Secure SAFE. Just one purchase and all is taken care of. This is really how it is supposed to work in my opinion. Nobody want to surf around, compare products and make separate purchases for every device. It’s time consuming and would for sure be more expensive too. Not to talk about the risk that one or more of the devices would remain unprotected.

Interested? Why not continue to the brand new F-Secure SAFE right away? You don’t have to make up your mind now. There’s a 30-day free trial available.

Safe surfing,
Micke

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