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Feds Fail To Secure Mobile Devices

New study finds one-third of government workers use public WiFi and one-fourth don't password-protect the devices.

The federal government may have specific policies for security, but many of its users aren't adopting secure mobile practices and behaviors, according to a new study by the Mobile Work Exchange.

The public-private partnership's study, which was commissioned by Cisco Systems, is based on data gathered from the Mobile Work Exchange's self-assessment tool for organizations to measure the security of their mobile workforce. The report focused on tablets, smartphones, and laptops, and found that 90% of government users who were assessed by the tool use at least one of those devices for work.

More than 40% of government users are putting their agencies and devices at risk, according to the report, which encompassed 155 users and 30 different government agencies, mostly civilian. On the flip side, 86% lock their computers when they leave their desks and 78% store files in a secure place.

More than 30% use public wireless networks, the study found, 52% don't use multifactor authentication or encrypt their data, and 25% don't use passwords for their mobile devices

Read the rest of this story on Dark Reading.

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Thomas Claburn
Thomas Claburn,
User Rank: Ninja
1/15/2014 | 3:38:37 PM
Re: Careful with the numbers
Are these figures really any different than those in the private sector?
User Rank: Apprentice
1/15/2014 | 2:33:58 PM
Careful with the numbers
The warning from this report is fair.  Whether the magnitude of the problem is correct is another story.  These public-private research reports need to be viewed carefully as the numbers, and nature of respondents, is hardly statistically representative of government employees.

The fine print reveals: This report "reflects the calculator inputs of 155 individual government responses and 30 agency responses...and 97 individual and 24 organization responses from the private sector.  You can download the full study, by registering, which is the less obvious point of these research projects, at

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