Data Security

Nowadays, smartphone plays an important role in our daily life.  It is definitely more than just a phone.  Many people use their smartphone as a device to store personal and/or even confidential information.  These information may include login credentials, important notes, private photos, etc.  Since these information are important, data security should not be overlooked.

Symantec has recently conducted an experimental project, “Symantec Smartphone Honey Stick Project”, on 50 “lost” smartphones.  Software are pre-loaded on these “lost” smartphones to track and monitor the phone usage when the phone was picked up by an unintended user.  The project concludes that “there is a very high likelihood attempts to access both sensitive personal- and business-related information will be made if a lost and unprotected smartphone is found by a stranger”.  Here are some of the key findings from the project:
  1. 96 percent of lost smartphones were accessed by the finders of the devices
  2. 89 percent of devices were accessed for personal related apps and information
  3. 83 percent of devices were accessed for corporate related apps and information
  4. 70 percent of devices were accessed for both business and personal related apps and information
  5. 50 percent of smartphone finders contacted the owner and provided contact information

We hope this particular finding will trigger you to think more about data security on your smartphones.  You should always plan for the worst-case scenario: your smartphone is lost and some unintended user is trying to access the data in your phone.  What can you do to protect your data so that your privacy will not be disclosed?

We would like to share a few tips with other iPhone (iPod Touch and iPad) users to help safeguarding the “worst-case”.
  1. At a bare minimum, enable the “Passcode Lock” to restrict access to your iOS device.  “Passcode Lock” does not only tighten the access to your device and the data within it, it also enables the iOS Data Protection feature, which brings another layer of data protection to the supported applications, such as Secret Garden.

  2. To further secure your iOS device, turn off “Simple Passcode” to allow a more secure passcode because there are only 10,000 different numeric values for “Simple Passcode”.  Depending on your needs, you may want to set “Require Passcode” to “Immediately” and turn on “Erase Data” as well.

  3. Register with iCloud.com from Apple to enable the Remote Wipe feature.  You can perform a Remote Wipe from the iCloud.com website to prevent unwanted data access if your phone is lost.

  4. Do not store any sensitive and/or confidential data on your iOS device using “unprotected” applications, such as Notes or Reminder.  If an unintended user gets your device and manages to access the data, those applications cannot protect your data.  Any sensitive data should be stored in specialized application, such as Secret Garden, that provides proven data protection mechanism like password-protection and data encryption.


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