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3 days ago

YOUR MONEY: Outsmart smartphone attacks with encryption – The Patriot Ledger

It’s an eye-opening statistic – 60% of online fraud is conducted via mobile device platforms.  No wonder, considering all the sensitive information stored there. From bank account numbers, Social Security digits, healthcare info and any number of passwords, our smartphones are ripe for the picking for cyber criminals.

Protection against hackers starts with installing software updates as soon as they become available.  We take updates for our PCs and laptops seriously, so why not a device we all use as much or more than computers?  

Eric Brown

These days we install apps to our mobile devices the way we eat jellybeans – with abandon!  But be careful when asked to grant various permissions, including the ability to read your files, access your camera and listen in on your microphone.  Yes, there are legitimate uses for this type of access, but it also opens the door to misuse, so read that fine print before checking “yes.”

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It’s a good idea to lock your mobile device when not in use to guard against trouble should someone outright steal or gain physical access to it.  Many smartphones can be set to require a six-digit password and/or other identifying options, like facial recognition or fingerprints.  Take it a step further and set your device to automatically erase its data after x number of incorrect password attempts.

Despite the implementation of safeguards, perhaps the most disturbing fact of the matter is that Artificial Intelligence (AI) attacks are poised to play an increased role in both cyber attacks and defense of these breaches.  These sophisticated attacks can take their sweet time infiltrating targeted devices, such as ones attached to particular corporations or organizations. Encryption is the main defense against this type of criminal disruption.  It provides multiple layers of defense to protect data as it makes information on a phone unreadable.

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Encryption can be either software or hardware based.  Most of the major mobile device manufacturers offer hardware encryption, which is typically the preferred method as it has less of an impact on device performance than software encryption.

Using a passcode to unlock your phone, and have the information encrypted on your phone as well, is the best defense to make sure that your data won’t be compromised if your device is lost or stolen.  

Encrypting your personal smartphone may seem like security overboard, but just consider all the critical financial, health and other confidential information it contains…and what it would mean if it ended up in the wrong hands.  

Eric Brown, CISSP, PCIP is with CliftonLarsonAllen LLP (CLA), which offers industry-focused wealth advisory, outsourcing, audit, tax, and consulting services. He can be reached at [email protected]. To learn more visit CLAconnect.com.

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