Risk
2/25/2013
06:06 PM
Connect Directly
Google+
LinkedIn
Twitter
RSS
E-Mail
50%
50%

Smartphones, Foolish Security Choices

One quarter of smartphone users store "intimate" images on their mobile devices, says security vendor AVG.

10 Best Android Apps Of 2012
10 Best Android Apps Of 2012
(click image for larger view and for slideshow)
People with smartphones could be smarter in their security practices. One smartphone user in every four, according to security firm AVG Technologies, stores intimate photos on a smartphone or tablet, a practice that makes a lost or stolen device a potential privacy problem.

AVG didn't specifically define "intimate" in its survey. "The mobile survey asks whether or not people have intimate photos of themselves on their smartphone or tablet, allowing the definition of 'intimate' to be purely up to the respondents' interpretation of that word," a company spokeswoman said in an email.

In other words, among the intimate photos said to reside on a quarter of respondents' mobile devices, not every image is likely to deserve an "X" rating. Some might not even qualify for an R or PG-13. Even so, the finding suggests that a significant percentage of smartphone users have some security and privacy blind spots.

[ Will Firefox OS phones rock the market? Read Mozilla Firefox OS Ignites Carrier Rebellion. ]

AVG surveyed 5,000 smartphone users in U.K., U.S., France, Germany and Brazil about the kinds of data kept on mobile devices. The company says that although respondents were "acutely aware" of data threats -- 50% of respondents recognized that mobile devices are less secure than computers -- they missed potential privacy implications.

JR Smith, CEO of AVG, said in a statement that the survey demonstrates consumer confusion about safe usage of mobile devices and urged companies to do more to educate consumers about privacy and security.

So, while we wait for the inevitable launch of Fruit of the Loom briefs stitched with, "No Cameras Beyond This Point," AVG has some modest advice to help those who don't recognize the privacy and security implications of carrying a phone loaded with potential blackmail material.

-- Don't install (Android) apps from outside the Google Play store.

-- Don't install anything that sounds too good to be true, such as "free ringtones" or "free wallpaper."

-- Keep your phone's operating system up-to-date, even if mobile carriers don't necessarily make this easy.

-- Install an anti-virus app on your phone -- not exactly surprising advice from a company that makes an anti-virus app.

AVG neglects to mention the most obvious way to protect one's privacy: Don't store intimate photos on your phone.

Attend Interop Las Vegas, May 6-10, and attend the most thorough training on Apple Deployment at the NEW Mac & iOS IT Conference. Use Priority Code DIPR02 by March 2 to save up to $500 off the price of Conference Passes. Join us in Las Vegas for access to 125+ workshops and conference classes, 350+ exhibiting companies, and the latest technology. Register for Interop today!

Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Comments
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
Drew Conry-Murray
50%
50%
Drew Conry-Murray,
User Rank: Ninja
2/26/2013 | 9:50:55 PM
re: Smartphones, Foolish Security Choices
So where should people store their intitmate photos? In the cloud? Is that really going to be any safer? On their home PC? Same deal. Might as well roll the dice with the phone. Or follow Tom's advice, which is probably best of all: don't take "intimate" pictures.

Drew Conry-Murray
Editor, Network Computing
Register for Dark Reading Newsletters
White Papers
Flash Poll
Current Issue
Cartoon
Video
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Dark Reading - Bug Report
Bug Report
Enterprise Vulnerabilities
From DHS/US-CERT's National Vulnerability Database
CVE-2014-0640
Published: 2014-08-20
EMC RSA Archer GRC Platform 5.x before 5.5 SP1 allows remote authenticated users to bypass intended restrictions on resource access via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-0641
Published: 2014-08-20
Cross-site request forgery (CSRF) vulnerability in EMC RSA Archer GRC Platform 5.x before 5.5 SP1 allows remote attackers to hijack the authentication of arbitrary users.

CVE-2014-2505
Published: 2014-08-20
EMC RSA Archer GRC Platform 5.x before 5.5 SP1 allows remote attackers to trigger the download of arbitrary code, and consequently change the product's functionality, via unspecified vectors.

CVE-2014-2511
Published: 2014-08-20
Multiple cross-site scripting (XSS) vulnerabilities in EMC Documentum WebTop before 6.7 SP1 P28 and 6.7 SP2 before P14 allow remote attackers to inject arbitrary web script or HTML via the (1) startat or (2) entryId parameter.

CVE-2014-2515
Published: 2014-08-20
EMC Documentum D2 3.1 before P24, 3.1SP1 before P02, 4.0 before P11, 4.1 before P16, and 4.2 before P05 does not properly restrict tickets provided by D2GetAdminTicketMethod and D2RefreshCacheMethod, which allows remote authenticated users to gain privileges via a request for a superuser ticket.

Best of the Web
Dark Reading Radio
Archived Dark Reading Radio
Three interviews on critical embedded systems and security, recorded at Black Hat 2014 in Las Vegas.