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Protect Your Cell Phone

written by: •edited by: Aaron R.•updated: 11/13/2008

As electronic devices are continually being developed, each poses a different security risk. The more electronic gadgets we use, the more we need to be aware of personal safety. This article explains why cell phones have the potential to pose as great a security risk as home and laptop computers.

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    Electronic devices such as the mobile phone are continually being developed. The 3G family of electronic devices such as Google’s Android and the latest version of Apple’s iPhone among others have applications that are the functions and features of home computers. Along with the convenience are the security risks. This new generation and future generations of mobile phones demand installed and updated security software including operating system patches, firewalls, anti-spam software, anti-virus software, anti-spyware software and file encryption. The same basic guidelines for internet safety that you practice with your home computer apply to your internet-enabled mobile phone.

    In the near future it will be possible for mobile phone users to conduct online financial or business transactions or to store passwords and logon, personal or credit card information. This opens the door for identity theft, digital forgery, online fraud, more spam, data theft, any cybercrime, or even distributed denial-of-service attacks that could make a cell phone network disabled for a period of time just like a computer network server.

    It seems to be more common for smaller electronic devices such as the mobile phone or laptop to be stolen rather than the desktop computer because they are more portable. It is crucial to report the theft of a mobile phone as you do with a laptop or desktop computer.

    Am I overreacting? Maybe. But, probably not. Is it possible, as a worst-case scenario, for a hacker-stalker to know their victim’s location 24 hours a day using the same wonderful mobile phone technology as opt-in text advertisements during daily travels?

    It is just starting to become mainstream for more and more people to use mobile phones to browse the internet, shop online, communicate with their office or home computer and download programs, applications or ringtones. When you have a good-sized volume of continuous internet traffic using a specific technology there will be cybercriminals looking to make a profit or enjoy their mischief. We know the research, development and distribution of malware are very lucrative enterprises. As new technology emerges, criminals are sharing their expertise and resources to circumvent safety protections of all electronic devices.

    Safety with the 3G generation and all future generations of mobile phones depends on three groups of people. The manufacturer of the phone or device needs to provide a power source (a battery) that can handle the load of continuous everyday use along with the exertion of necessary protection software. The network administration providing the transmission services needs to recognize and temporarily restrict access to the communication lines between infected mobile phones before a massive denial of service attack is realized on their network. The last group is the users. Everyone must be aware of his or her personal safety. Cybercriminals will most likely delight in the features of new generation mobile phones because they typically have little or no security, are handling more and more transmissions of data and communications and most people leave mobile phones on 24 hours everyday. A basic rule of internet safety is to shut off your computer or at least disconnect the internet connection when you aren’t using it. Can we do that with our phones? After all, mobile phones are becoming more and more like a mini-computer.