Thursday, September 20, 2012

The Next Big Identity Threat

If you're the average person your phone holds your life. Schedules, appointments, reminders, personal pictures, notes, your favorite music, banking information, etc; New features being championed by credit card companies would even turn your phone into a credit card. This has made the cell phone a prime target for hackers and identity thieves alike. Most phones, however, offer little in the way of security make your phone a prime target.

If you're like me you have apps galore. Everything from Facebook and Twitter to Evernote, Pandora and everything in between. Most of us live our lives off our phones. From the alarm that wakes us up in the morning to the playlist that puts us to sleep at night. So much of our identity is stored to our phones and identity thieves want access. With many phones connecting directly to our content with out passwords for easy access, a cell phone in a thief or hacker's hands could be devastating.

What's more cell phone providers, credit card companies, Google and Paypal are rushing to push apps which could potentially give thieves direct access to our bank accounts. MasterCard, Citibank and Google have teamed up to bring you Google Wallet , which works anywhere that accepts MasterCard Paypass and would allow you to swipe your phone just like a Paypass card. AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile also have a similar app Isis in the works. These all work on what is called a NFC, near field communication, chip. The technology does seem like a promising development for the future of commerce, however, with few firewalls on phones to prevent catastrophe it may not prove to be viable.

The smart phone killed the phone as we once knew it. When cell phones first become popular most people had it glued to their ears or spent their time frantically texting away. However, with the rise of the data revolution many users spend much more time on the internet on their phones than actually talking to people. In fact most of us spend more time talking to our friends via facebook on our phone than actually directly talking our texting them. Many developers had that in mind and many operating systems are dangerously without protection. Like computers you can buy virus protection for your mobile device but few people actually do. Which leaves the devices open for security breeches. With added security issues mobile developers should evolve to take greater steps to provide security for their customers but if not people need to take security into their own hands. You have been warned.

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The Next Big Identity Threat

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