NEWS | Oct. 28, 2015

Mobile communications security

By Airman First Class Derrik Florkiewicz 628th Communications Squadron

Tablets and smartphones have become an integral part of everyday life, making them a prime target for criminals wanting to steal your information. These criminals exploit weaknesses in mobile devices such as Text Messaging, Multimedia Messaging Service, Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth. Additionally, one of the most common tools is malicious software that takes advantage of the unknowing user.

How, exactly, are you supposed to take measures to protect yourself and your device from these attackers? Fortunately, smart devices have some basic layers of security already incorporated in in the device. The first layer of defense is a central idea of a sandbox. You're phone has rooms in it. Each room has a locked door. If something goes haywire in a room (harmful software), the device puts the room on lockdown so the harmful software cannot spread to the other rooms (rest of your device). Along with the security implanted in the device's Operating System is an additional layer of Security Software, such as an anti-virus and firewall.

Now you know what's already in place to protect your devices; what can you do to help protect yourself and devices? Your first priority as the user is to not be an easy target. Monitor your resources. For example, if your battery is using power at an abnormally high level, it may be a side effect of harmful software on your device. Most malicious behavior is permitted by the carelessness of the user. You should be skeptical of unfamiliar requests for information as it may be phishing attempts. Be careful of the permissions you give applications. The quizzes on Facebook are good examples. They ask your permission to post on your page but, often times, they ask for more permissions than they require.

Remember to lock your phone, do not leave it unattended, encrypt sensitive information or, better yet, don't store any sensitive information on the device. Don't save copies of sensitive information unless it is on a secure memory device and clear the data when you get rid of the device.

If you follow these precautions you will prevent attackers from taking advantage you.