October is Cyber Security Awareness Month, and getting to know all your devices is as important as ever. Most people are online every day, which puts themselves at risk of being hacked. Whether it is a mobile device, laptop or PC, everyone should have electronic awareness.
Stephen WeldonDirector of the Cyber Institute at Augusta University College of Computing and Cyber Science He said several straightforward things that can be done to protect devices, like having lock screens, making sure operating systems are up to date and simply knowing how, when and where devices are used.
“Today’s smartphones are perhaps the most capable computing device we have, and we have them all the time,” Weldon said.
“The data that can be extracted from these devices can be put together to build a lifestyle on us: where we go, what we do and when we do it. All of this data is potentially at risk if we are not careful about who has access to our smartphones. This is a great reason to lock down screen and prompt at least a password or PIN to unlock the phone.”
Jokela DorayPh.D., assistant professor in the College of Computing and Electronic Sciences, suggests using biometrics to enhance security.
“I highly recommend to women, young adults, and even teens, if you can have biometrics as a way to unlock your device, go for it. These unique ways to unlock your device will add a layer of protection,” Dorai said.
Dorai is one of the growing experts in the field of mobile forensics and its research projects are federally funded. In addition, several SCCS faculty members mentor undergraduate and graduate students working on the latest research related to mobile security and digital forensics.
She also suggested adding two-factor authentication or multi-factor authentication to create an extra layer of security.
When you’re in public, it’s easy to connect a mobile device to an unprotected Wi-Fi network — but doing so could open the sites you visit to hackers. Weldon suggests people be careful about which apps are used when connected to public Wi-Fi, as they can reveal a lot of personally identifiable information. His suggestion is to use a virtual private network to help protect the data being sent and received.
“We should learn about the data on our smartphones and protect it accordingly,” Weldon added. “Knowing the value and sensitivity of the data on our smartphones can guide us in how to protect these devices. We may not think as much about the security and privacy of our smartphones as we think about our laptops and desktops. When we think about everything we use our smartphones for and how ubiquitous it is in our lives, we realize how important it is in today’s lifestyle in the digital age.”
It’s hard to tell when a mobile device is hijacked, so both Weldon and Doray suggest paying close attention to any unusual behavior, even small things like the battery draining faster than usual. Both are indicators that you may need to take corrective action.
Doray added that the government could do more to protect a person’s privacy.
“With more and more IoT devices coming into the market, with so many different manufacturers, there is a lot of user data already being exchanged. These days, the most important thing in the world is data. It takes stricter measures,” she said.
She noted that it should be a collaborative effort between industry, academia, government and practitioners to come together and work on ideas to enhance security.
“Yeah, we want security. We are willing to take on a little bit of friction for more security. We want it easy and we want it generally free,” Weldon said. Safer.”
Another major concern is applications in general. While the Google Play Store and Apple routinely remove some apps that may be outdated or have security holes, they may still run on the user’s device.
“Mobile apps may also hide from you in plain sight, meaning that app icons may not appear on the screen, but still run in the background,” Dorai added.
In essence, the device user is the first line of defense. Taking all necessary steps to prevent a third party from obtaining your information is extremely important in the digital age.
“I think a big part of this discussion is about user awareness. We want this free app but this app asks for a lot of permissions. There’s an old adage in cybersecurity: ‘If you don’t pay for the product, you are the product,’” Weldon said. Another adage: “If he is smart, he is weak.”