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10/26/2009
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Keith Ferrell
Keith Ferrell
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Smartphones Call For Security-Smarter Users

Smartphones, and all the other smartstuff filling our pockets, bags, lives, make for mobile convenience and access -- including access by crooks. Time to get your smartphone-using staff to dial up their security practices.

Smartphones, and all the other smartstuff filling our pockets, bags, lives, make for mobile convenience and access -- including access by crooks. Time to get your smartphone-using staff to dial up their security practices.A world of information, communication and connection in your hand (or budded to your ear). That's the smartphone promise, and it's a promise more and more of us are taking up.

Which means that more and more of us need to take a hard look at our smartphone security practices.

Trend Micro reported this summer, for instance, that 44% of smartphone users thought Internet access was safer via the phone than computer.

While there's a certain insulation from OS-specific attacks, that's a limited and ultimately false security. Purely in and of themselves, smartphones aren't safer than any other connected technology. If there's information on a device, and the device is connected, and its user is receiving e-mail and surfing the Web -- well, you complete the call.

Malware links, phishmail, texting, social network scams, all the other ploys crooks use to catch unwary users offguard can be just as effective over the phone as over the PC.

Yet less than a quarter of the smartphone users the security company surveyed had installed the security software that came with their phones.

And of course smartphones are small, making them more easily stolen -- or left behind by a user -- than a notebook. CNN quotes one Symantec security expert as saying that smartphones are a stunning 15 times more likely to be lost than a notebook!

Because so many employees are using personal smartphones and devices for business purposes -- and you really ought to have a policy on that -- it can be tricky to ask to see the device and review its protection levels.

But making sure that every employee using a smart device for any business purpose has the device password protected, has securityware installed and updated regularly, and understands that a smartphone isn't only a communication and connection platform, it's also a threat environment, is among the most important security calls you can make.

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