If Mobile is your Mantra, protect your Yantra.


If you’re like millions of others who live on your smartphone, this post is for you.
If you’re from Singapore, like me, we have the highest smartphone penetration in the world, at a whopping 85% in 2014 (up from 72% in 2013). Smartphones are way more popular than PCs, with 60% of Singaporeans using the smartphone as a primary information device, according to Google. Singapore’s mobile penetration rate is 154%, probably the highest in the world, says IDA (Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore).
There’s more. Global mobile data traffic is set to reach 52 million TB (terabytes) in 2015, up 59% from 2014, according to Gartner, Inc. This rapid growth will continue through 2018, when mobile data traffic reaches 173 million TB. Gartner advises CSPs (communication service providers) to rethink their data caps to meet consumer needs.
Now the bad news. If you’re using an Android device, 99% of new mobile malware is targeted on Android devices, according to a 2014 Mobile Threat Report by security firm F-Secure Corp. That doesn’t mean iOS is safe. The number of documented vulnerabilities for iPhone and iPads jumped 82% in 2013, says Symantec Corp.
Small and medium businesses are the most vulnerable. Last year, 60% of all targeted attacks struck SMBs. SMBs often have fewer resources to invest in security, and many don’t adopt basic best practices like blocking executable files and email attachments. This puts not only their businesses, but also their business partners, at high risk, according to ISTR20 (Internet Security Threat Report) published in April 2015 by Symantec Corp.
What are your chances of being totally safe from malware? Zero. Here’s what you can do to protect your company and you:
Zero: That’s right, if you are in a critical sector like banking, defense, healthcare, consider a “zero client”. That’s a dumb device with no local storage. Can your zero clients run on Microsoft Windows or VMware or Citrix? Yes, they can, says Dell. (#Iwork4Dell)
Encrypt: Don’t rely on a 4-digit passcode on your iPhone. Turn off “Simple Passcode” in your Passcode Lock settings. Here’s an excellent article on how to do this, by Melanie Pinola. If you’re on Android, the encryption password is tied to the screen-lock passcode. Go to Settings >Security >Encrypt Phone option. You can also encrypt your SD card on that screen.
Retina: Where possible, opt for 2FA (two-factor authentication) with a third-party device (such as ones provided by your bank) or in conjunction with a biometric reader such as a retina/iris scan (available on the latest mobile phones). Some services – Gmail, Facebook, Dropbox – show you “active sessions”, so you can check who else is logging into your accounts.
Operating Systems: Upgrade your operating system to the latest where possible. Android updates can be blocked by Google or by the handset manufacturer or by the mobile service provider. So before you buy your next handset, check whether your mobile service provider or handset company will allow OS upgrades.
In Hinduism, mantras are chants to achieve desired results, and yantras are devices that let you do that. In the tech world, mantras are your messages, and yantras are your mobile devices. Don’t let hackers hijack your yantra and distort your mantra.

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