2016 / 13 August

Has Your Smartphone Already Been Hacked?

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Imagine if your home had over a million windows and doors? What are the chances that one or more of those entry points would be inadvertently left unlocked? What if there were thousands of invisible intruders attempting to gain access?

As outlandish as that sounds, I’m sure we can all agree that it wouldn’t be a pretty picture of you were the homeowner. The unfortunate reality is that when it comes to the security of the mobile devices that we all use, the above analogy is not far from the truth.

The average smartphone has well over one million lines of source code necessary for it’s operation, including all of those nifty applications we use. Each and every one of those lines of code represent a potential security vulnerability in a world where these devices are almost always connected to the invisible network we call the Internet. It’s one of the reasons why new security holes are discovered faster than device manufacturers can possibly close them.

The ubiquitous nature of mobile devices and their need to support an enormous range of functionality means that they will always be extremely vulnerable.

So, what’s keeping the bad guys out? Almost nothing is the sad truth.

The tech savvy readers out there will immediately recognize that I am over simplifying the problem with my analogy but the important thing for everyone to grasp is the sheer magnitude of the issue:

  • From 2012 to 2013, mobile malware grew at an astonishing 614%
  • In a 2015 report, Symantec found that 17% of all Android apps (nearly 1 million) were actually malware in disguise.
  • Grayware apps, which aren’t malicious by design but do annoying and inadvertently harmful things like track user behavior, accounted for 36 percent of all mobile apps.
  • More than 1 BILLION smartphones will be shipped in 2016

In today’s mobile and hyper-connected world, it’s not uncommon for people to store credit card information, personal identification, medical data, and even fingerprints on their mobile devices. Considering the above trends, that is simply an unwise and risky proposition.

At BluStor, we believe the keys to your digital identity (e.g.,  fingerprints and other biometrics) along with any sensitive  personal data should be kept separate from always-connected mobile devices and fully in your control.

Keeping important data separate from mobile devices while still making it easily accessible is no small challenge and is one of the reasons we have spent years researching and developing a new wireless security platform called CyberGate.

CyberGate is the approximate size of a credit card and enables you to store all of your data in an ultra-secure device that never needs to leave your wallet or purse. It is accessed through a secure Bluetooth wireless interface and is protected by multi-factor biometric identification (face, iris, fingerprint, etc.) required to access the information stored on the card. Operating as a secure companion to your smart phone, tablet, laptop, or desktop computer – CyberGate keeps your ID and personal data out of the hands of the bad guys and in your control.

Better cyber security solutions are desperately needed in our increasingly mobile and connected world. Don’t be the one left with your doors or windows unlocked when the bad guys come knocking!

If you valued this article and want more, please sure via your Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, Facebook, and other social media outlets. I encourage you to join the conversation or ask questions so feel free to add a comment to this post.

You can also find me on Twitter at @NewFrontierCIO for more commentary on the frontiers of technology, leadership, space exploration, and science.

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