Work – specifically, where we work – is changing. We work in different countries; we work while travelling in trains, planes, and automobiles. Some of us even work while on holiday. When working remotely, even just one night out of the office, we are often using phones or tablets that are not company-supplied.
Mike Foster, a cybersecurity expert who runs the Foster Institute in California, offers four tips to improve security on our mobile devices so that we can continue to work efficiently outside the traditional office:
Keep the device locked. Whether by passcode, fingerprint, facial recognition, or other method, keeping the phone locked lowers the chance of it being hacked if stolen.
Install updates, especially those for your device’s operating system. A phone with an out-of-date operating system is more vulnerable to hacking. Foster advises users not to be fooled by an email or text message offering a link to click for a system update, because that message could be a phishing attempt. Instead, go into your phone’s settings and initiate updates there.
Turn off Wi-Fi when you don’t need it. Foster said it is easy for attackers to connect to your phone without your knowledge. All they need to do is set up a network that has the name of your own trusted networks, and they can trick your phone into connecting to their network instead. Foster said that hackers have automated tools that will attract your phone, even if the hackers don’t know the name of your trusted networks. Your best protection, while not easy, is to turn on Wi-Fi in your phone’s settings only when you want to connect to a secure Wi-Fi network, such as at home or work.
Consider giving your IT department access to your device. Some companies require this for employees who bring their own device to work or who use mobile devices outside the office for work. Foster said users may wish to consider how useful it may be if their IT department can track and remotely erase their device if it is lost or stolen.
—Neil Amato (Neil.Amato@aicpa-cima.com) is a CGMA Magazine senior editor.