Tag Archives: Mobile Phones

“Remote working places business data at risk” reveals Imation Corporation Survey

According to new research initiated by global data storage and information security company Imation Corporation, poor security and impugned responsibility are placing business data at risk for those working remotely. Staff are taking confidential information away from the office, often without the knowledge of their employer, and losing unsecured and unencrypted business data in places such as pubs, on trains and in hotels.

According to the survey of 1,000 office workers* from the UK and Germany, nearly two-in-five of respondents (or someone they know personally) have lost or had a device stolen in a public place. Three quarters of these devices – among them laptops, mobile phones and USB sticks – contained work-related data. This included confidential e-mails (37%), confidential files (34%) and customer data (21%).

Around one-in-ten interviewees had lost financial data or access details such as login and password information, potentially exposing even more confidential information to the risk of a data breach.

What makes these findings even more concerning is that a large proportion of data removed from the workplace isn’t adequately secured. As many as three quarters of respondents said they had taken digital files with them outside of work, yet many do not use standard security measures such as encryption, password protection or remote wiping to protect that data from unauthorised access.

One-in-four employees interviewed for the Imation Corporation’s survey admitted breaking security policies to work remotely while the majority were not concerned about losing confidential business data

One-in-four employees interviewed for the Imation Corporation’s survey admitted breaking security policies to work remotely while the majority were not concerned about losing confidential business data

Nearly half (44%) of respondents said that data is never encrypted when taken out of the office. Three out of every ten respondents admitted they don’t protect their data with passwords, while nearly one-in-ten workers who take digital files outside of the office do not secure them at all.

Office workers, it seems, are not losing any sleep over losing confidential business data when they take work home, with only one-in-16 worrying about this massively important issue.

Lack of understanding around corporate data security

“Companies may not be aware of the amount of data that’s leaving offices unsecured,” said Nick Banks, vice-president (EMEA and APAC) for Imation Corporation’s IronKey solutions. “In addition, half of respondents said that, at least some of the time, nobody would notice if they were to take data away from the office and lose it. It’s obvious that poor security and lack of understanding of what happens to corporate data are placing organisations at risk of a data breach.”

Even though eight-in-ten of the employees interviewed read or write work e-mails on the move, and around seven-in-ten work on electronic documents away from the office, businesses are failing to provide their employees with secure tools for remote working and not putting the right security policies in place.

Fewer than six out of every ten respondents said their organisation had a remote working policy in place. Of those employees working for companies that do have a policy, more than a quarter of interviewees admitted they’d broken that policy in order to work remotely. Of those staff questioned, 8% had knowingly broken the policy and a further 18% say they’d unknowingly broken it.

Equally, of those individuals who do secure data that they take outside of the office, just over half said that their employer or a third party supplier provides the remote working security measures. One-in-five respondents reported that just they themselves provide the security measures.

“These figures emphasise the urgent need for businesses to ensure that their employees have the necessary systems in place to work flexibly and securely without further hindering productivity,” asserted Banks. “The reality is that people are working in cafes, on aeroplanes, in their GP’s waiting room and even while they take their children to the park. Organisations are tasked with a monumental challenge of providing secure access to corporate networks and data. Data protection is now a huge concern for employers who are battling to manage security and privacy for employees on the move.”

Nearly half (44%) of survey respondents said that data is never encrypted when taken out of the office

Nearly half (44%) of survey respondents said that data is never encrypted when taken out of the office

Key highlights of the research

Other research highlights are as follows:
• As many as 41% of interviewees suggested that they either do not have the right tools available to work remotely or that their solutions for doing so could be improved
• Three-in-five respondents would tell their boss if they lost a storage device with company data on it. However, nearly one-in-ten would do nothing. Less than one third of survey respondents said they have policies that dictate who should be notified depending upon the type and sensitivity of the data lost
• Almost a quarter of respondents have looked over the shoulder of someone working on a laptop/tablet in a public place or noticed someone looking over their shoulder while 6% would let someone else use their work laptop, tablet or smart phone outside of the office
• Around half (48%) of respondents that take digital files with them outside of the office do not fully separate their work and personal data, in turn placing their personal data at risk of being wiped when business data is compromised
• Only 70% of respondents report that they protect their data with passwords and only 36% encrypt their data. A small proportion of respondents are using biometric technology (14%) or remote wiping (7%) to secure their data
• Public areas such as pubs, cafes and restaurants (22%) and public transport (29%) are some of the most common locations for respondents to read or write work e-mails when outside of their home

Nick Banks: vice-president (EMEA and APAC) for Imation Corporation’s IronKey solutions

Nick Banks: vice-president (EMEA and APAC) for Imation Corporation’s IronKey solutions

*The research consisted of 1,000 online interviews carried out this summer and involving office workers in businesses of at least 250 employees and covering a range of industry sectors. 500 respondents emanate from the UK and 500 respondents work in Germany. 80% of respondents were required to work remotely for at least part of their working week. Interviews were conducted online using a rigorous multi-level screening process to ensure that only suitable candidates were given the opportunity to participate

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Mobile phone theft research report highlights models targeted by thieves

Research published by Home Secretary Theresa May not only highlights the most popular handsets targeted by thieves but also sets out practical steps to protect mobile phones from being stolen.

The research paper includes a ‘Mobile Phone Theft Ratio’ that shows which handsets may be most likely to be targeted by thieves.

The paper – which was produced with the Behavioural Insights Team and pieced together in consultation with the mobile phone industry – also sets out practical steps as to how members of the public can protect their mobile phones from being stolen.

The Mobile Phone Theft Ratio – based on data for the period August 2012 to January 2014 – is topped by the Apple iPhone models 5, 5C, 5S and 4S followed by the BlackBerry 9790 in fifth place. Samsung Galaxy and HTC phones also feature on the index.

Mobile phone theft is an increasing problem

Mobile phone theft is an increasing problem

The likelihood of a phone being targeted by thieves is driven by a number of factors, including the overall desirability of the phone itself, the ease of access to valuable personal data stored on handsets and the perceived risk of the phone being tracked once it has been stolen.

Level of theft remains a concern

Home Secretary Theresa May said: “Crime has fallen by more than 10% under this Government. This is good news for a safer England and Wales. However, the level of mobile phone theft remains a concern. People are increasingly carrying their lives in their pockets, with bank details, e-mails and other sensitive personal information easily accessible through mobile phones. This is why it’s vital that Government, the police service and industry work together to tackle this form of criminality.”

The Home Secretary continued: “The Mobile Phone Theft Ratio will inform consumers about which mobile phones are most targeted by thieves. We are also working with industry to stop the reactivation of phones overseas, thereby killing the export market on which organised criminals rely. The mobile phone industry is already taking vital action to introduce features that enable phones to be tracked and wiped if they are stolen. It’s encouraging to see that these security improvements have contributed to recorded theft from the person falling by 10% in the last year, according to the most recent crime statistics.”

The paper highlights the success of new features, such as the new iOS7 operating system developed by Apple, and the Find My Mobile and Reactivation Lock features introduced by Samsung.

Intelligence from the Metropolitan Police Service suggests that the iOS7 system has already affected the black market value of stolen phones.

The research paper also shows that people are most likely to have their phones stolen directly from their person (through pick-pocketing) or when the handset is briefly left unattended, for example at a table in a bar. The data highlights that certain groups are particularly vulnerable: 14-24 year olds, and most notably women are more likely than any other group to be the victims of mobile phone theft.

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Home Office: ‘Online advice service launched to thwart mobile phone thieves’

A new online advice service to help people protect their mobile phone handsets from thieves has gone live today. The advice has been published on Police.uk with the support of major phone manufacturers Apple, Blackberry, LG, Samsung, Sony, Nokia and Windows Phones.

The service encourages members of the public to make more use of their phone’s security features, including innovations such as tracking, wiping data from or locking stolen handsets remotely using another Internet-enabled device.

The service also provides links to information on each manufacturer’s security features, including how to switch them on.

There are tips on avoiding mobile phone theft in the first place, such as taking extra care to keep handsets secure in busy locations and never leaving a mobile phone unattended.

Mobile phones are an attractive target for thieves. Handsets can be sold for hundreds of pounds overseas, where the newest models are not yet available

Mobile phones are an attractive target for thieves. Handsets can be sold for hundreds of pounds overseas, where the newest models are not yet available

Statistics on mobile phone theft

In 2012-2013 there were 742,000 victims of mobile phone theft in England and Wales. Sixteen to 24-year-olds are the most likely age group to be the target of ‘theft from the person’ offences.

Crime prevention minister Norman Baker has held a series of meetings with leaders in the mobile phone manufacturing industry to discuss what more can be done to tackle mobile phone theft.

“Crime is down more than 10% but theft from the person has gone up, bucking the overall trend,” explained Baker. “It’s clear much of this is generated by the theft of mobile phones, iPads and the like. I have challenged the industry to do more to make such thefts unattractive, for example by making it easier to immobilise stolen devices. I’m pleased to see that we are now making progress.”

Baker continued: “One part of this is the online advice service which is a vital new tool that will help people protect their handsets and make would-be thieves think twice. Mobile phone technology is changing all the time and we need innovative solutions to ensure we stay ahead of criminals.”

Leader in responding to mobile phone crime

The UK is a world leader in responding to mobile phone crime, with the industry and the police already working together to block stolen phones within 48 hours – stopping them being re-used in this country and making them less valuable.

Mobile phones are an attractive target for thieves. Handsets can be sold for hundreds of pounds overseas, where the newest models are not yet available.

Latest figures from the Crime Survey for England and Wales showed 40% of thefts from the person involve a mobile phone.

The latest quarterly police recorded crime statistics were published in January, and cover the three months to the end of September 2013. They show ‘theft from the person offences’ are up by 7% and a rise in shoplifting offences of 4%.

The Government has started publishing street-level information on ‘theft from the person’ on crime maps so that Police and Crime Commissioners and the public can hold their local force to account.

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Hidden Security Dangers of the BYOD Phenomenon

Amir Lehr – vice-president of cellular products and business development at Cellebrite – discusses the business repercussions of sensitive data not being wiped from old mobile phones.

The thought of losing our mobile phone fills many of us with dread and fear. After all, we run our entire lives from these pocket devices.

Gone are the days of using our mobile phones exclusively for making calls, sending text messages and light Internet surfing. Now we keep all our personal information on them including text messages, contacts, e-mails, photographs and videos, birthdays, identification data and so much more.

To find that you’ve forever lost a sentimental text message from your husband or an old photograph of your grandmother would be devastating enough, but what if your mobile phone held valuable information belonging to the company you work for?

With many employees now owning an exclusively work mobile phone and others holding business information on their personal phones, their devices could hold anything including usernames, passwords, financial information and highly confidential data.

So now the devastation doesn’t just affect the individual, but the entire business.

While mobile phone security during use is important, it's imperative to see security right through to the end

While mobile phone security during use is important, it’s imperative to see security right through to the end

Bring Your Own Device: the risk factors

Bring Your Own Device (or BYOD) policies may allow employees to bring personally owned mobile devices (laptops, tablets and smart phones) to their workplace and use those devices to access company information. This phenomenon has taken the world by storm but, by using private smartphones alongside professional handsets (and especially as the refreshment cycle for consumer handsets is more rapid than work devices), this brings even more danger. Precautions must be taken at all stages.

As current developments indicate, our mobile phones could soon be used to control everything we do – from giving us access to our home, car, medical and financial records to being a communications hub for e-mail accounts, surfing the Internet and managing social media profiles. The potential for the business world is enormous, but with that comes an equally enormous level of risk.

Security breaches are commonplace these days and employees must do all they can to ensure they are not making such an incident easy, as many often overlook how much risk their mobile phone carries.

There are two main scenarios in which specific precautions need to be taken.

One sees the mobile phone being sent to a laboratory or workshop for critical repairs. Once the phone is out of its owner’s hands, it’s difficult to protect the data it contains.

The other is when a phone is traded-in for a newer model while the old phone – and all of its content – is left with the store or recycler.

In fact, research has found that between 54% and 60% of discarded or traded-in used mobile phones still contain the personal data of their previous owners.

One overlook can risk a whole business and, with all this highly sensitive information at stake, employers and employees alike should be advocating the need to protect themselves and company information from risk.

Many may be reassured by the fact that resetting the phone would dispose of some information. In fact, unless expert equipment is used, no deletion is permanent.

While mobile phone security during use is important, it’s imperative to see security right through to the end. Information will still remain on the phone even if you’re not using it unless it’s correctly wiped.

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