Is your smartphone spying on you? You can bank with it, you can make purchases with it – but how secure is the phone in your hands?
“It’s a gateway to trouble in many ways,” said technology reporter Peter Suciu, during the latest Security Clearance Careers Podcast. “We don’t use the same level of cauation with out smartphones as we do with our desktops.”
Suciu notes that in many ways the risks can be generational – young people are simply not as used to navigating on a personal PC. Having spent so much time on their phones, they don’t take the same precautions.
And just as dangerous as hacking is social engineering – attacks based on personality rather than a brutal attack on your software. “The Human element is the weakest part,” noted Suciu.
He relayed the story of how he was once traveling on an airplane and overheard the man next to him carrying on a conversation about a sensitive issue. The conversation concluded with him shouting on his phone about how important it was that this information didn’t get out until the press release – all the while, he didn’t realize that he was sitting next to a technology reporter who could have leaked the whole story just based on what he’d overheard.
People accept a level of risk with information they shouldn’t. It hearkens back to the Cold War era, when Russia was known to send spies to dine in the Pentagon cafeteria, in hopes they’d capture individuals in an informal moment sharing sensitive information.
People are naturally more cautious about their computers. The reality is, phones are much more easily hacked than our desktop computers. From GPS, to applications, smartphones contain a number of opportunities for risk.
“Big brother is not so much watching you, we’re standing in front of the camera making sure Big Brother sees us,” said Suciu.