Mobile security battle, which OS is #1?

Smartphones are one of the most important devices of the past decade.Their popularity has allowed billions to go online without a computer, while simultaneously providing managers and employees a tool to help them stay productive while away from the office. If you are in the market for a new phone, you should be sure to compare the security of the different devices.

Here’s a comparison of the security of the four most popular mobile platforms: iOS, Android, Windows Phone, BlackBerry.

The ability to encrypt your phone (make the data unreadable without a key) is an important feature if you use your phone to view or store private or secure documents. Users of Android 4.0/4.1 and iOS can encrypt their device using a password. Users of Windows phone 7/7.5 have basic encryption built into the device, however, it doesn’t meet the encryption requirements of many organizations. On-device encryption will be introduced in Windows Phone 8.

BlackBerry users can encrypt their phones manually, or if they are part of a business network, the administrator of that network can set encryption on all devices. Mobile OSs, minus Windows Phone 7, and Android 2.X and earlier, have strong enough encryption to meet the needs of the majority of organizations.

While your devices can be encrypted, you should be aware that the encryption is done when the phone shuts off and powers on. If you constantly leave your device on, encryption is less effective.

Remote wipe
The ability to remotely wipe a device in case of loss is a must for many professionals. Users of BlackBerry, iOS and Windows Phone have built-in options to remotely wipe their phones through a cloud service. BlackBerry uses BlackBerry Protect, iOS uses a feature of iCloud called Find my iPhone and Windows Phone uses the Windows Phone website. Android is a bit different in that the OS doesn’t have a built-in remote wipe option, but there are apps available. With all of these systems, you log in to a website and can either lock or wipe the phone.

You should be aware that remote wipe is a last resort solution, you will loose all of your data and information. If it’s not backed up, there is no way to get it back.

All devices have options to set a password or passcode to unlock the phone after it has gone to sleep. You can also set how robust the password protection is, or which form of pass protection you use to access your phone. In truth, there are more passcode options on mobile devices than most desktop environments.

Some systems have a few extra options, like the ability to trace a pattern code or using your face to unlock the phone. The stock setting of sliding to unlock should not be used by any user. At the very least you should have a four digit numerical pin to unlock your phone. If you don’t have a password on your phone, features like encryption and remote wipe are more or less useless, as your data can be easily accessed anyway.

Most security threats to mobile devices don’t come from losing your device, rather they come from apps. All mobile OSs have a place where users can download apps for their phones. Some of these are more secure than others. As BlackBerry is largely business oriented, the apps on the store are too and must meet a certain level of security before they’re posted on the store.

iOS apps are only available to download from the App Store, as part of iTunes. This allows Apple to be stringent with their rules; apps on the App Store must meet Apple’s requirements or they won’t be allowed to be sold on the store.

Windows Phone follows a process similar to Apple’s and BlackBerry’s. The developer submits their app for review, Microsoft tests the app and then either puts it on to the store, or rejects it. With the lower number of users, fewer malicious apps make it onto the store.

Android follows a more laissez faire process. Almost every app is allowed onto the Google Play store, which in turn has turned Android into a bit of a hacker’s delight. Google does monitor apps, and has started to remove malicious apps, but there are still more of these on Google Play than other app stores. That being said, the store is a lot more secure than it was even a year ago.

While OS developers tout the security and safety of apps on their app stores, each has had malicious apps make their way onto the stores. The ideal thing to do is to restrict what apps can be downloaded onto company phones by having an approved app list.

Email security
The security of email, the most common form of business communication on mobile devices is an important issue to be aware of. All mobile platforms support encryption used by the major email providers. If your company uses Microsoft Exchange or a similar server, any encryption applied at the server level is supported on the mobile level. Personal services like Google automatically encrypt email.

Device management
If you have implemented a Bring Your Own Device policy (BYOD), or issue mobile devices to employees, you need to be able to manage these devices. BlackBerry devices can all be managed by an administrator with apps, updates and security issues pushed to the phones by the administrator. At this time, the other systems support remote management, however, device management has to be done through third party solutions.

Each mobile system has pros and cons when it comes to security of related devices, and each new version brings with it better security. In truth, the devices themselves are fairly secure. To ensure a secure mobile device, multiple features and apps need to be utilized by both the user and, if necessary, the administrator/IT manager of your company. If you have questions regarding the security of your mobile device please contact us, we may have a solution for you.

Published with permission from Source.

Lost your phone? Follow these tips.

The smartphone has managed to become so integrated into our daily lives that we take it with us everywhere we go. When we don’t have it with us, we may feel out of touch and like we’re missing something. What’s even worse is patting your pockets, or checking your bag only to find your phone has gone missing.

Here are four things you should do before you lose your phone and three things you should do when you lose it.

While you still have your phone

  1. Put your contact information on your phone’s lock screen. On Android, go into Settings, select Security followed by Owner Info. Put in your info and tick the box at the top of the window. For iPhone users, you’ll need to create an image with your contact information. When you have an image, plug your phone into your computer and put the photo in iPhoto. From there select Settings followed by Wallpaper. Pick the image you created and select Home. You’ll notice it show up on your lock screen.
  2. Install a tracker app. Tracker apps allow you to take control of your phone from a remote location (not your phone) and do things like wipe the memory, turn on the ringtone and GPS. For Android users, Android Lost and Wheres My Droid are both good apps. For iPhone users, Find my iPhone is the best app, and should already be on your phone. If you have a Windows phone you can simply log in to My Phone and click Find a lost Phone.
  3. Put your contact info in the phone. Many people who find a phone will turn it on and try to look for the owner of the phone, why not help them out and put called “Me”, or “In case of emergency.” Be sure to include another phone number and email so people can contact you.
  4. Backup important information. You should be backing up your data for this reason. Luckily most smartphone operating systems sync with the cloud, so be sure to turn on syncing to ensure important information and contacts are backed up.

When you lose your phone

  1. Call and text it. Before you activate the tracker app, try calling your phone and sending a text from another phone, maybe someone will pick it up or see it.
  2. Activate tracer. When you can get to a computer, log in to the website the tracker uses and use some of the options. The first thing you should do is turn on the GPS and see the phone’s location. If that doesn’t work, try sounding the ringer. As a last resort, wipe the memory.
  3. Contact the Police. If you’re worried about the information you have on your phone, or have reason to believe it was stolen, you should contact the police. It’s a long shot, but people have been known to also turn in lost cellphones to police stations, so it may be worth a visit.

It isn’t fun to lose a phone, but if you take steps to minimize the possibility of losing all of your data, you could be back up and running on a new phone in no time. If you’d like to learn more about securing your phone, please contact us.

Published with permission from Source.

Keep your smartphone secure

The smartphone has become one of our most beloved devices. Like a favorite pet, we take it everywhere with us, show it off every chance we get and even use it as a way to conform or stand out. No matter which brand you have, you probably have important information stored on your phone, and should be taking steps to ensure that it’s secure from prying eyes.

Whether you have an Android, iPhone or Windows Phone 7, here are two tips to keep your smartphone secure:

Lock your screen
If you have data or information on your phone you would like to keep secure, the first thing you should do is lock your screen. Most smartphone users lock their phone with a 4 digit number combination, but it’s recommended you use a password for higher security.

  • On Android. To establish a password on your device go to Settings and select Security. Press Screen lock. On Ice Cream Sandwich, you have six options for security, with the least secure at the top and most secure at the bottom. Many users select Pattern or Password. Enter the password twice and press Confirm.
  • On iPhone. Select the Settings app followed by General. From there select Passcode Lock and turn it on. You’ll be asked to set your passcode and confirm it.
  • On Windows Phone. To set a passcode go to the home screen of your device. Open Settings from your Application list and select Lock & Wallpaper. Press Password, enter your password and then press Done.

It’s recommended that you set a password that’s unique. Don’t use your birthday, address or phone number. At the same time, you have to make it easy to remember. If you’re having trouble coming up with a password, this video by Mozilla is a big help.

Enable remote wipe
While passwords and other security codes will go a long way in preventing others from accessing your phone, it often isn’t enough. The next step in device security is to set up the ability to remotely wipe your device.

  • On Android. At this time there is no native remote wipe option on your phone. You’ll have to download an app from the Play store. The apps work by using a push service – you “push” the commands to your phone from another source i.e., a website. When you install the app, you’ll have to register your phone and access it from a website.
  • On iPhone. The iPhone has remote wipe capabilities which can be accessed through iCloud. On your device select Settings, iCloud and turn on Find my iPhone. If you lose your phone log into iCloud and select Find my iPhone. From there you’ll be able to remotely wipe your device.
  • On Windows Phone. If you lose your phone you can remotely wipe it by going to the Windows Phone website, logging in and selecting My Phone. From there you’ll be able to wipe your phone.

Even if you don’t have confidential information on your phone, it’s a good idea to, at the very least, set a solid passcode on your phone. Adding the ability to remotely wipe your phone will ensure the information won’t be viewed by other people. If you’d like other ways to keep your mobile phone secure, please contact us.

Published with permission from Source.
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