Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Virus-Infected Mobiles: Precautions And Protections

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Programming viruses, nasty malware, and the devilish minds which create them, are increasingly targeting mobile communications devices... smartphones, pads, tablets...maybe even your Kindle. No one is fully immune -- from the day of purchase, to the downloading or installation of any seemingly-innocent application, to the logging into an infected or infection-carrier site. Old school phishing and other black hat social engineering and fraud are also still very much in fashion. Vigilance is required.

Also, as Mac users become a greater percentage of the information and communication systems marketplace, the trend will be toward finding ways to plant viruses and malware right into your MacBook Pro.

In some of these cases, the subject virus or malware may operate unnoticeably, merely slowing down performance, or causing occasional malfunctions -- or it may find its way from one piece of equipment to another (while you're synching or transferring data from one device to another) to infect other equipment. These 'viral vectors' (the means through which your information is tracked, hacked or otherwise compromised by some means of access) abound.

Being a Microsoft Windows and Internet Explorer user (rapidly being pressured into biting into the Apple for my next big purchase), I am accustomed to the annoyance of downloading different patches and updated definitions every single day, and to the ritual defragging, antivirus scanning and performance-checking which I must do several times daily.

You must install good firewall and backdoor protection, locks on your wireless addresses, antivirus/anti-malware software (which must be carefully updated from a very reliable source), and constantly scan for these invaders, lest they start purchasing shoes and beef jerky with your credit card, cleaning out your ATM, or using your information or identity for some other egregious purpose. You cannot let a day go by without running scans.


Also:

Check the legitimacy and certification of every site or source from which you may wish to download any applications; don't ever respond directly to an embedded hyperlink or clickable graphic on any warning correspondence about "having to renew or re-authorize your account", etcetera; don't open any suspicious emails or attachments -- not ever --; don't direct click on texted mobile ads which give you a special link for access to something or to subscribe to some product or service.

As a Global Futurist, I predict that biometric identification (retinal scans, facial recognition, fingerprinting, or voice recognition, alone or in combination) will help to eliminate some unauthorized access to your equipment, information and accounts, but these markers are not yet in ordinary use -- and even when these secondary security identification verifiers come into use, the virus and malware gremlins will be hard at work trying to capture and duplicate this information -- just as surely as keystroke loggers and spyware are downloaded on countless computers every day, and just as you can purchase programs [some of them are even free] which can bypass CAPTCHA code tests robotically.

Human error is the principle entry token for most of these infections.

No technology is a substitute for diligent pre-emptive and frequent testing and monitoring of your equipment, and a sample-checking from time-to-time of of your important accounts. Change passwords frequently, and be on the lookout for suspicious inbound correspondence in any form, or exciting 'free' downloads.

The following article excerpt comes to us courtesy of ZDNet, a wonderful source of technologically-oriented information which pertains to every aspect of IT in all business applications.
Finding and cleaning out your smartphone's Carrier IQ poison
Millions of iPhones, Android and other smartphones have the Carrier IQ spyware rootkit in them. Here's how to find it and try to zap it.
READ FULL STORY 
More coverage:
  7 questions that Carrier IQ needs to address immediately
  Senator demands answers over Carrier IQ mobile phone tracking

It bears repeating: Even when biometric identification verifiers come into use, the virus and malware gremlins will be hard at work trying to capture and duplicate this information -- just as surely as keystroke loggers and spyware are downloaded on countless computers every day, and just as you can purchase programs [some of them are even free] which can bypass CAPTCHA code tests robotically. Human error is the principle entry token for most of these infections.

You multiply the probability of infection when your employees bring work home on PCs, use resources for reference or research, have their security breached or their hardware (mobile and otherwise) become contaminated (putting the info on insertable, portable zip drives is not an answer at all) and infuse this infected material into you LAN or office network. Control data access, and test every drive, document, or media display prior to granting it access to your central operating system.

Keep your information, identity, communications and access safe!

Douglas E. Castle for InfoSphere Business Alerts And Intelligence, at http://InfoSphereBusinessAlerts.blogspot.com



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