Friday, August 30, 2013

Your Smallest and Greatest Security Risk

I'm an avid Smartphone user. Due to my vocation, it's a necessary evil that I must use to schedule, Email, text and invoice customers and students. Without it, my day would be longer and I would have less fluidity with my customers. They like immediate responses to Email and phone calls. Technology today has brought communication on any medium to a seamless procession of information. This (when used properly) can make you more productive and more popular than the competition.

Unfortunately, it can also make you a target. There are mass reports of stolen passwords and Email accounts, deceptive hotspots, government spying, malware, spyware and many other issues that can make the smartphone your greatest enemy. The greatest threat to is to your personal security.

How many times do you see someone walking while using their phone? Zero situational awareness, danger avoidance or situational control. You might as well close your eyes and walk into traffic! Even the simplest things can be dangerous. Light poles, bollards, curbs, shrubs, and uneven surfaces can bring you great pain. These wouldn't be a bother if you would get your head out of your phone!

A few tricks to keeping your phone safe. Turn off the bluetooth transponder and never use an open WiFi hotspot. Many are fakes that are there to steal your login info and send inappropriate Emails to your contacts. Never leave the phone out in public. Some phones have known faults that can allow hackers to access it. If they see what type of phone you have, they might be able to access one of those faults.

Password protect your phone. Change the password every month. Secure your phone with a protection application that takes a picture of anyone who enters a wrong password. This will help identify a possible security threat.

Another threat is to have yourself filmed saying something inappropriate. In today's society, we have a large chance of being filmed when we least expect it. I've used this tactic myself when I was entering into a gentleman's agreement with another party that I felt wasn't going to be honored. Upon first learning of the breach of contract, I simply sent the person an Email with a youtube link of the conversation. Problem solved. Check your local laws on this, they aren't the same everywhere.

Text messages and Emails are forever. They can be accessed by civil and private entities at any time. Never text or Email something you don't want people to know about at a later date. This includes medical or psychological information about family members. Any communication is fair game these days.

I've long bemoaned the use of a phone over polite conversation, especially at an eating establishment or family outing. I can't tell you how many times I've seen 4 people sitting down to eat and all 4 are on their phones instead of talking. Small talk will be a lost art in 20 years.

A smartphone is an invaluable tool for today's economic and social environment due to it's ability to multitask and help the user keep on schedule and in contact. As long as you are careful and always vigilant, you should be safe. My emergency kit doesn't have a traceable smart phone, it has an untraceable dumb phone.

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