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Top Five Mobile Risks Phone Users Should Lookout For

Top Five Mobile Risks Phone Users Should Lookout For

Many of those with executive jobs have begun adopting bring-your-own-device policies in the workplace. When employees are allowed to use their personally-owned smartphones and other technologies, they can be more productive, efficient and driven. It can also save companies a significant amount of money, because they do not have to provide staff with devices.

However, particularly when using internet-enabled phones on the company's network, there are certain security threats leaders must look out for. Luckily, there are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure the risks mobile devices pose do not become a large-scale problem.

Jailbroken phones

At the recent Gartner 2012 Security & Risk Management Summit, experts noted that jailbroken devices can be a major threat, TechTarget reported. The source explained jailbreaking refers to an action that allows mobile phones to bypass software restrictions to download unauthorized applications. For example, an iPhone would be able to use Android applications, and vice-versa.

According to Tech Target, this action could open devices up to a bevy of dangers that accompany app downloads. Once a phone is infected by a virus downloaded from an app, it can spread to a company's entire network. Businesses should consider implementing a policy that prohibits the use of jailbroken smartphones at work.

Phishing scams

While this may be harder to prohibit in an office setting, it is not uncommon for individuals to fall prey to a phishing scam, in which a hacker attempts to gather personal information. If corporate information is stolen, however, that could spell major trouble.

Tecca reported there are five common scams that criminals undertake over the phone to phish data from device owners. Owners could educate their staff about the common ploys, which include fake charities asking for donations, criminals posing as police officers to verify identities and bank alerts that trick the user into giving out account information.

Lack of protections

Many consumers do not invest in security software for their mobile devices, though this is often irresponsible, both in a personal and business sense. Because smartphones can access the internet, just like computers, they are vulnerable to viruses. TechRepublic also reported cell phones can become infected with malware when they are connected to a PC or laptop via a USB cable.

The source said companies should require devices connecting to the main network to have protective software installed, adding that major providers often have a mobile line of antivirus solutions.

Unencrypted data

Requiring data encryption practices when storing company information on a phone is always a good idea and can prevent against hackers accessing crucial intelligence. According to TechRepublic, data stored within the phone and on memory cards that are plugged into the device should always be encrypted, to protect the information.

Additionally, if a phone is stolen and data is encrypted or password protected, the thief will find it difficult to tap into private corporate information.

Accidents

Mistakes happen to everyone, and many are unavoidable. But if a phone is stolen or broken and there is business data saved on the phone, it could be damaging to the company. If the device is left somewhere and later stolen, it could be vulnerable to hackers that steal stored information. However, employees can invest in applications that would allow a remote wiping of all memory, if the device becomes compromised.

If any of the applications or accessories are supplied by the company and the phone is damaged, replacing them could cost more than the initial purchase, CFO.com noted. While allowing the employee to use their own phone would let businesses off the hook in replacing the phone altogether, important data could be lost if the device is destroyed.