Things have kicked off with a force at Mobile World Congress 2014 in beautiful Barcelona, Spain, where several industries focusing on mobile technologies will come together to share the latest digital and social innovations. During the other 51 weeks of the year, the impressive impact that these technologies have had on our current global culture is pretty much undeniable, but during this week in February, the promise of what the mobile future holds for us comes to light.
Some of the major topics that will be addressed at this year’s event will undoubtedly be the increasing inner-connectivity of internet-enabled devices, as well as the road ahead for mobile payment technologies. The Internet has made it possible for the world to stay connected, and mobile devices have made that connectivity possible on the go. The Internet of Things (IoT)—which I have discussed before—has become a very real part of daily life, from smart refrigerators, thermostats, and game consoles, to cars and everything else in between.
Smartphones and tablets now have the ability to keep us connected to almost every aspect of our lives, but the security implications should also be considered. Recent high-profile incidents have brought these risks into the spotlight, and it will be interesting to see if and how these challenges will be addressed by the industry—at Mobile World Congress and beyond.
Oversharing Apps Create New Risks
Aside from the risks associated with connected devices, our recent McAfee Mobile Security Report brought to light new issues around user safety when it comes to the data we share across devices and apps. The dominant theme displayed in the report’s findings was that apps are tracking users more than they may realize, with some of the worst culprits harboring a malicious agenda. Our research team found that 82% of the Android apps analyzed track mobile activities, with 80% of those actually collecting location information.
In addition to tracking location, the majority of apps also record the Wi-Fi and data networks you use and when you turn on your device. This habit of app oversharing is more of a concern than ever before when it comes to IoT devices, with a potential data breach putting not only your phone, but also every device it’s connected to at risk.
Mobile Devices are Ubiquitous, But Security Isn’t
From your grandmother to your neighbor, it seems like everyone has at least one mobile device—or two, or three! We found that 85% of people surveyed globally own a smartphone and more than 50% own a tablet. However, while device usage may be more popular than ever, device protection is still lacking, with 41% using the same password across multiple Internet connected devices.
Additionally, we found that almost 30% of respondents don’t even have a basic PIN or passcode enabled on their devices for protection. The Internet of Things has raised the stakes now that your house, car, and a multitude of other sensitive things can be synced to your mobile device. Our recent survey emphasizes the fact that user responsibility is one trend that needs to increase when it comes to mobile devices.
Combat App Snooping with Mobile Security
There will be a plethora of new mobile gizmos and gadgets that come out of Mobile World Congress, and we can be assured that both old and new threats alike will undoubtedly follow these innovations. The only way to combat the risks that come along with mobile technology is proper security, and together with Intel, we have made it a priority to ensure that all users can have access to the protection they need for free.
McAfee Mobile Security offers a wide array of easy-to-use safety features that protect your devices and the sensitive data on them without draining precious battery life or memory. From tracking the location of a missing phone or tablet, to remote lock and wipe features, app monitoring, secure data locker, and more, McAfee mobile security works quietly in the background of you favorite Android and Apple devices. Key features include:
- Data backup and restore for contacts. It can take a long time to build out your contacts list. Restore your data to a new Android or Apple device in the event your previous one gets damaged, lost, or stolen.
- Locate and track lost or stolen devices. Find your Apple or Android device on a map using the remote management portal. In addition, the SOS feature automatically saves the last known location of your device before the battery runs out.
- Web protection for mobile browsing. McAfee Mobile Security keeps you from visiting potentially dangerous phishing sites or getting redirected with browser exploits when searching the Web on your Android or Apple device.