Thursday, 27 April 2017

Smartphone Smarter Than You?

Is Your Smartphone Smarter Than You?

The chances are that you have in you handbag or pocket a smartphone. The problems is - that sometimes the smartphones turn out to be more sophisticated and smarter than us.  Things you do online and offline can put you at risk of identity theft and other types of fraud.

A few years ago in a past life, I wrote a handout for students for securing internet 'Access Points and Routers'. At that time - the buzz was 'Out-of-the-Box' or 'Plug-and-Play' The idea being that anybody could take a device, plug it in to the phone line and the mains then without any knowledge whatsoever be able to use it.

People at the time were often left wondering why their internet charges from their internet service providers were so high. They did not know it, but they were a fraud victim.  They had experienced what was known at the time as a 'Drive-By-Attack'. Except that the bill payer had no idea that their Internet connection was compromised.

The problem was to make the system 'foolproof' the manufacturer of routers and access points provided the device with a set of default security settings. The Administrators account was usually called 'Admin' and often the account password was 'Password'. They were all the same and if you did not change the default settings. Anyone within range of your router, with a little bit of knowledge could login using the admin account and the default password.
They could then use the victims internet for free  then when they were leaving, delete information from the device connection record. Including their MAC Address and other information. Things today are much better and the first time set-up configuration application, as a bare minimum prompts for a user defined admin password to be set.
Smartphones by comparison are much better protected than the old routers and access points ever were. However, smartphones are much more complex. (including GPS, still camera, video camera, games console as well as being a telephone) Whilst most modern smartphones do have good security settings. Some security features have to be turned on and in some cases configured.

The consumer magazine 'Which' has published a PDF document that can be downloaded. Targeted at the two most popular types of Smartphone.  It has a great deal of information on protecting you, your personal information and your smartphone from being compromised.

The most popular Smartphone is based on the Android system. Click Here to download

The other one is based upon the less popular Apple smartphone system. Click Here to download

There is also another 'Which' document on protecting yourself from financial scammers. Click Here to download

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