It’s no big secret that mobile security is an increasingly important part of everyday life. After all, there are reasons why Apple implemented a fingerprint-based ID scanning system a few years ago, and why pretty much every new smartphone advertises a security perk when hitting the market. There’s a reason people across the country are tuned in to Apple’s defiance of the FBI over a smartphone security issue, which for a few days at least seemed to be bigger news than the constantly covered presidential election.
Simply put, we carry a significant portion of our lives on our mobile devices. Photos, personal notes, passwords, automated access to websites and accounts, and even financial information—these are things many of us keep on our devices, relying only on security codes, fingerprints and the devices themselves to keep it all safe. This is pretty much how things are now. Slowly but surely, however, it’s actually becoming even more important for us to secure these devices as much as possible.
In part, this is simply because hackers are growing more sophisticated, and more accustomed to modern mobile device security. Even three years ago, it was written that smartphones would be the next big targets for hackers, and in the years since we’ve seen a bigger problem with people’s devices being hacked, and their data stolen. The basic problem is that the threat is getting greater, and in many cases our defenses against that threat are remaining relatively stagnant.
But we’re also changing what we do with our phones and other mobile devices, and that too has led to a greater need for security. Perhaps the biggest shift is the advent of cloud computing technology in the general public. Once used primarily by large companies and in work environments, cloud storage and sharing have gone mainstream. We now keep huge amounts of data in personal clouds, and the leading personal cloud service caters to 500 million people worldwide! What this really means is that all those people can now use mobile devices to access data they might otherwise leave stored on computers or secure servers. Thus, a stolen or hacked phone doesn’t just make that phone’s contents vulnerable, but it can also breach your cloud.
There are also some subtle changes in how we entertain ourselves with our mobile devices. Most notably, we’re seeing more and more mobile games that are connected to our bank accounts. Players have been known to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars on viral games like Clash Of Clans or Marvel Contest Of Champions, but in some cases mobile gaming is even more closely tied to finances. Indeed, where legal, players can now access the site that offers the largest selection of bingo games in the UK through their phones or tablets. This alone has made mobile gaming a more financially risky activity in places like New Jersey and Nevada, and if such gaming methods are legalized in more of the U.S., our entertainment will be even more closely tied to finances. This means we’re now making our money vulnerable through our mobile gaming habits, if our devices aren’t secure.
And then of course there’s perhaps the most obvious reason for increased mobile device security: the fact that payments are going digital. Whether you believe in Apple Pay (despite poor growth numbers), the rise of Bitcoin, or any other type of digital payment and money transferring service, it’s becoming difficult to deny the overall movement. Cash and credit cards are slowly but surely being sidelined to make way for digital scans, which again means we’re linking our bank accounts to everyday activities on these devices.
These are just a few of the major changes and issues that are currently highlighting the need for more stringent mobile security. Fortunately, the tech companies producing mobile devices tend to be very aware of the needs of their consumers, and thus those devices are always improving. But it’s also wise as a consumer to be fully aware of just how completely your data and finances are connected to your phone and/or tablet.