In the immortal words of Alastor "Mad-Eye Moody": constant vigilance!
There's a 28% chance that your business will experience a data breach in the next two years. And with almost 5 million phone attacks per year, it's time we get smart about working from our smartphones.
In Ditch Your Desk! Rule Your Business Empire with Your Smartphone!, I shared how we can easily manage our business from our mobile's using apps. While I'm not going to give up working wherever I want, it's time to actively protect our business information from falling into the wrong hands.
It's time to practice constant vigilance!
The Wounded Gazelle Theory
Here's a sobering thought: It's much easier to hack a person than it is to hack a business. It's the proverbial wounded gazelle theory. A predator (our demon hacker) has a difficult time taking down the entire herd (our business). Yet, it's not that easy to target one business owner or employee who's lazily enjoying an Iced Oprah Cinnamon Chai Tea Latte at Starbucks, while using their free Wi-Fi.
Here's a quote from our favorite fictional hacker, Elliot Alderson, from Mr. Robot:
"People always make the best exploits. I've never found it hard to hack most people. If you listen to them, watch them, their vulnerabilities are like a neon sign screwed into their heads."
Walk into any cafe, in any city in the country. You can easily pick out who is working on their phone. You don't have to stop working from your smartphone and you'll still be identified as a gazelle. Someone just waiting to be attacked.
But you don't have to be a wounded gazelle.
Become a Hack-Blocker
In his article, How to stop hackers from stealing your information on public Wi-Fi, author Arthur Baxter says "Hackers want to sit between you and the websites you visit in order to look at your information. They do this with little effort on public Wi-Fi. Besides the lack of security, all sorts of different people might their share sensitive information through public Wi-Fi."
There's a lot you can do to protect your phone's integrity. Add a lock when you're not using it, always keep the software updated, and only download apps from trusted sources. But if you're going to conduct business on your phone, install software like Norton WiFi Privacy or Avast Mobile Security & Antivirus.
There are some that argue that you can set you your phone to do most of what security apps do. This is probably true. Yet, why take the chance that you get it wrong? I'm not interested in learning how to defend myself from mobile hackers, so I'll use technology as my hack-blocker. I still need to understand the basics, but I'll trust my wingman to help me out.
The Threat is Real
It's incredibly naive to believe that our mobiles are safe. Mobile is 29% of all U.S. eCommerce and 34% globally. Not only that, but more and more people are working directly from their phones. That means using file-sharing apps, accessing and PayPal accounts, and even scanning checks directly into your bank account. This all adds up to a major security threat, not only for you but your business too.
None of this means we have to stop working from our mobiles. It just means we have to be smart about what we do and take the threat seriously.
Constant vigilance, my friends!