Our pressing need for ‘now’ does not translate to a want for security breaches
Recode is running a series leading from its “I want it now” piece about people who have grown accustomed to having their desires met on a whim through the aid of savvy entrepreneurs and tech innovators eager to cash in.
We can all relate to “I want it now”.
I feel myself growing impatient in coffee shops when someone has found a spot to connect their laptops or mobile devices to power points - and I have not. As we often spend hours in the one coffee shop sipping from the same latte we ordered more than an hour ago, it’s inevitable from time to time that we’ll want to check our personal affairs.
What’s happening on facebook? I should message my friend. Let’s browse my favorite news and music sites – that concert looks good, I think I’ll buy a ticket. What, my credit card has been rejected? Best do some online banking.
This type of activity in public spaces can be open playing field for the ill-intentioned: The hacker or the “steal your data” money or identity thief.
We would all agree the “I want it now” mentality does not include: ‘I want’ cyber snoops and criminals ‘now’.
We’ve heard the warnings about our mobile devices – the smartphone is a walking computer in your back pocket, and yet one that can easily be lost or stolen. The plethora of text messages, contact lists, photos, online search history - all this information can be found and used against us if it falls into the wrong hands – even when wiped (as our recent blogpost shows).
Hackers are also targeting our mobile devices with malicious malware. AVAST already has acquired one million malicious samples in its database – up 100,000 from 2011.
As we reported in this blogpost in June, our virus lab experts discovered an app leveraging the World Cup soccer craze with games that were not actual games at all, just a hoax to spray ads.
When we’re living in an ‘I want it now’ society – here are some tips from AVAST to ensure you don’t jeopardize your online security while tending to your need for instant gratification:
Protect your smartphone or tablet from malicious attacks and lurking cyber snoops or walking fingers hoping to steal your data or phone.
Install avast! Mobile Security and Anti-theft from the Google Play store, http://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.avast.android.mobilesecurity
The major app stores like Google Play and Amazon are the safest places to go for apps. These have strict vetting procedures, so they are reliable sources most of the time. The ones you need to watch out for are the unregulated third party app stores, often originating from Asia or the Middle East.
Your Android phone has its own security settings, so we recommend that you set a PIN number with a strong number code to lock the screen. To set your PIN or a pattern, go to Settings>Lock screen.
Use avast! Mobile Security App Lock to set a PIN for apps you want to keep private, like online shopping and banking apps. You can lock any two apps with a PIN/gesture using our free product; get unlimited app locking with the Premium product.
Password Check is a feature in avast! Mobile Premium that keeps nosy people and data thieves from snooping around your messages or emails. After three wrong attempts to break in, the phone is locked.
Sticky-fingered thieves can be off with your phone before you’ve finished ordering your coffee from the barista. Geo-Fencing feature is a clever anti-theft feature of avast! Mobile Premium. You set up a perimeter, around the cafe, for example, and choose some actions – like setting a loud alarm. If a thief tries to take your phone outside of the perimeter when you are distracted by your mocha latte, the alarm goes off, or the phone is locked.
Avast! Mobile Security and Anti-Theft has remote features that allow you to take certain actions. You can track and locate your missing phone using SMS commands and your my.avast account. Wiping the data from your phone can also be carried out by SMS command. Thorough wipe allows avast! to permanently and irreversibly delete and overwrite all of your personal data. This is handy when you are ready to sell or give away your phone as our recent ‘buying used phones online’ experiment as aforementioned proves.
Public WiFi hotspots can help you manage your data plan, but there is a dark side that you need to be aware of. Data thieves can snoop on your email, files, account log ins, passwords, etc. and eavesdroppers can listen to your VOIP calls on Skype or Viber.
We recommend that you use an encryption service like avast! SecureLine VPN. Especially when traveling, but even at home, the additional protection to secure your data and devices is becoming essential.
Image from http://www.andbethere.com
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Using only secure Wi-Fi hotspots will keep you safe. Right? Not in the Internet of Things era, when every device connected to those network introduces risk.