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WiFi and Secure Mobility

|  February 21, 2014

Several months ago, I wrote about mobile security, which sparked an interest to look into the legitimate risks involved with using mobile devices on unknown or public networks. McAfee, the popular security software company, estimates the cost of cyber espionage in the U.S. will be about $100 billion in 2014. That’s a 26-percent increase compared to 2013 and a 130-percent increase since 2009. Cybercrime is estimated to be one of the fastest growing economies in the world, which means the more you learn about the potential risks associated with this industry, the better you’ll be at protecting your business.

In a perfect world, we would never have to use Wi-Fi and greatly reduce the risk of nefarious activity. Unfortunately, none of us lives in a perfect world, and most of us are accustomed to accessing Wi-Fi on our mobile devices. Let’s look at how we can protect ourselves when requiring the use of these devices outside our company networks.

1. Never sign onto a network without verification sign in, which means avoiding any mobile hotspots or open networks that permit you to sign on without giving personal information, which includes creating a password. Unprotected networks are the easiest targets for hackers to lie in wait for unsuspecting individuals. A cyberthief with a fast copy to hacking software can mirror all your device’s information in minutes. That means any bank, personal, password or other information can be copied into their device before you even realize it’s gone.

2. Be concerned if you’re logging onto an unknown Wi-Fi for the first time. Even though the Wi-Fi network appears to be a legitimate site, a hacker can set up an evil twin, which entices you to log into the network and, before you know what’s happened, your information is stolen. Always verify sites are legitimate if you need to sign onto an unknown network while traveling.

3. Keep your mobile device required updates current. It’s critical to operate your device safely. These updates help your device run better and contain important security improvements, especially pertaining to WiFi accessibility. Each day device programmers are fending off another attack and developing updates to help keep your device safe and operating effectively.

4. Invest in mobile security software, which is an antivirus, antimalware software — no different than you would purchase for your computer. These software packages are offered by the same companies that offer computer antivirus software, but these packages have additional protection for mobile devices. Some of these features include GPS tracking options and data wiping if your device is stolen.

The best way to protect your personal and company information is to turn off your Wi-Fi and mobile hotspot transmitters in unfamiliar surroundings. Alternatively, if information needs to be retrieved from a Wi-Fi network, following these steps might save you from becoming a statistic. pmp

You can reach Stanbridge, a PMP and longtime technology columnist, at dean@directlinesales.com

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