So many times, when it comes to the security of our homes, we think in terms of 1) hiring someone to do the job for us; 2) purchasing something that is recommended and then tearing open the box, setting aside the instructions and hoping we did it right; and 3) Googling the topic and piece-mealing the parts together, hoping that if the time comes, it will all just work the way it is supposed to work.
Fortunately, there are experts out there who know what they are doing when it comes to home security. Also, fortunately, there is a lot of information that is available when we Google the topic.
Another aspect that those of us who use the computer less frequently may forget is that many security systems have an aspect that is tied into their computer. This is the case even if it is for monitoring cameras, to name one function. There are many more, depending on how much you want to pay for your security system and its functionality.
The Mobile Age and Security Systems
Now the security of our home or office is no longer limited to just the computer desktop or the laptop. Security has moved into the 21st century with cool apps that can be used on the smart phone or tablet. And, in many cases, once you have made the switch to mobile technology, you may not want to move back to “just” a computer. BTW – keep in mind that a computer is still good to have on hand for the heavy lifting, like computer backups (i.e. security footage backups), etc.
Curious about those apps that you can use on your mobile devices? Just check out this article that lists five of them here: Five of the Best Home Security Apps. Granted, three of those apps are free, at the time of this writing, one is the cost of a Starbucks cappuccino, and the other is a little bit pricey, but you do get what you pay for and the higher dollar one does provide quite a few helpful features for your security concerns.
Keeping Our Mobile World Secure
Now that we have thought about an investment in security apps and the usage of those smartphone devices, we also need to think about protecting them. That isn’t a bad idea even without a security upgrade in the mobility department.
Just like our desktop computers and laptops, smartphones are vulnerable because personal data is being compromised or stolen. Today, hackers are stealing information, such as financial, on mobile platforms like smartphones. In fact, CBS News Reporter, Sharyn Alfonsi says that some of our top world hackers are doctorate computer engineering graduates. She said that these individuals are intelligent hackers who look for flaws in smartphones using microlasers to break into mobile devices.
As we know, hackers use scamming techniques to compromise our data. Some examples include sending e-mail attachments with corrupt files. Another is the sending of malicious codes in text messages to accessing your personal information. This is why we are advised to never open attachments in e-mails unless you trust and know the source (i.e. know the person sending it). Even if you DO know the person, there is a 85% chance that you still do not open it because there is a possibility that it is malware on your friend’s computer and they do not know that that malware is sending out bad stuff to all of their friends and associates.
Malware not only includes email attachments in your desktops and laptops, but also email attachments on your smartphones. It makes sense that if it is malware that can affect one device, it is possible that it could affect another. It is all about whether it can infect the different OS (i.e. Windows, Mac, Android, etc.). Since some OSs are easier to hack than others, we should never feel overly confident that our operating system is untouchable, when it comes to malware.
In 2015, Aarti Shahani, of NPR.org said that about 80% of smartphones run on the mobile operating system Android. In the past, this software has had flaws where hackers took over peoples’ phones just by having access to cell phone numbers. Shahani also said, Collin Mulliner, senior research scientist at Northeastern University, said that it is the manufacturer of smartphones and potentially the carrier that is to blame for flaws in smartphones. Blame aside, at some point, it becomes our concern and our responsibility, by default, to ensure we are safe.
Today, there are many antivirus software programs for smartphones, to help fight against malicious attackers. However, choosing the right antivirus is challenging. Even though Android has recognized flaws in smartphones and updated their system to be more secured from hackers stealing personal information, a third party antivirus app, like Kaspersky Lab, helps prevent malicious malware dysfunctions even that much more, like an extra layer of protection (hopefully).
Trojans, for instance, are a threat and vulnerability to smartphone users, and when they infect your smartphone, Trojans have the ability to steal personal information and steal money from you. Yes, you read that right. For example, Zeus, a mobile banking Trojan that emerged in 2010, infected over 3.5 million devices in the U.S. This was reported by Ilja Shatilin, from Kaspersky Lab, and only referenced the United States and not the numbers from other countries.
Cybercriminals used a new malicious Trojan in Russia in 2015, Androd.Bankbot.65.Origin, where at least two billion rubles, that being 30,668.12 in U.S. dollars, were stolen from banks, said Shatilin. Also, Trojans that target banks are still being created today, and cybercriminals are still creating ways to entrap smartphone users. With that said, be sure to research and install the right antivirus app onto your smartphone to protect your personal information.
Whose Responsibility Is It?
See how this becomes something that we take on as a responsibility, by default? If we want to remain safe, we need to remain informed and take the right action for our own safety. Let’s not move toward panic, but a healthy measure of honest fear may motivate us to research what needs to be researched to keep ourselves safe. And, maybe hiring that security expert isn’t the worst idea we have ever had.