Insurance Journal Reveals Smartphone Security Risks

Protecting data on the smartphone you use for business is essential. Cyber threats are reported daily against hospitals, major corporations, and government agencies. Small businesses seldom rate a news story, but the threat from hackers to your company is just as real.

How You Are Vulnerable

A recent Reuters article, reported by Insurance Journal, reported that researchers have discovered two threats that could possibly affect 90% of all smartphones. Since there are over two billion smartphones currently in use worldwide, these are major security threats.

The two vulnerabilities can result in thieves:

  • Stealing passwords
  • Stealing data
  • Taking full control of the phones

The first threat affects Apple, Blackberry and Google Android phones. The makers are using a little known technological standard that controls how the device manages connections and user identities.

If hackers take control, they can wipe your phone, install malware, get access to your data and even run apps on it.

The second threat, called Fake ID, affects about 75% of older Android smartphones. This vulnerability lets hackers to trick software produced by Adobe, Google and other companies, without notifying the phone’s owner. This undermines the protection offered by the built-in verified signature chain.

How To Protect Your Business Smartphone

#1. Download patches right away.

This is the single most important step, one of the easiest to accomplish, and the one that is least implemented. The good news is that more and more often, independent researchers are publishing their findings about potential security risks, which makes it easy for manufacturers to swiftly develop a patch and make it available for users.

The bad news is they don’t work if you don’t download and install them.

#2. Install antivirus software.

This scans the apps on your smartphone to detect malware. It is absolutely essential if you let workers use their personal smartphones for business because that is the most common way that business networks become infected.

#3. Download apps that you can trust.

If you have an Android, that means downloading only from Google Play. If you have an iPhone, use only the Apple App Store. Don’t trust other sources for new apps.

#4. Update all apps quickly.

Though you may think it is just a change in the app and not for security purposes, install all updates right away. Don’t take a chance and leave your phone vulnerable.

#5. Carry cyber liability insurance.

Cyber liability insurance protects you from the financial costs of a data breach, covering the expenses involved in notifying people affected by the security problem and repairing the data breach so your business can use its electronic devices and networks safely again. It can help with reputation management and even cover the cost of negotiating with cyber extortionists holding your data hostage.