Tom Keighley

Smartphone owners must beware fraudsters, says Expert

As the popularity of smartphones continues to grow within the business world, so does the risk they pose to their owner.

According to technology research specialists Gartner, sales of smartphones grew 74% year-on-year and accounted for 25% of overall sales in the second quarter of 2011.

However, as many as one in five smartphone owners can expect to lose or have their device stolen at some point; leaving emails, banking data and other information viewable.

Hacking is also a major concern, and the situation has been likened to PCs around 1999, when few people thought security was necessary.

Tony Neate, of government-backed online security campaign, Getsafeonline, said: “Users must remember that they are essentially carrying around a tiny laptop with a wealth of personal information that is very attractive to fraudsters.”

Gartner suggest a series of security tips for individuals and organisations surrounding smartphone use.

Using a PIN or passcode function to secure the phone, and data wiping facilities for destroying critical information in the event of a theft, were too of the most prominent points.

GPS tracking and SIM watch software, that reports the new number back to you if the SIM is removed and replaced, were also highlighted.

The overriding advice was to treat smartphones as though they were a laptop, taking care not to download suspicious data, follow unknown links and recognising the risks of unsecured WIFI connections.

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