Non-geeks guide to mobile security

If you are anything like most people, including me, you don’t know much about mobile security. In fact, much of the information given to you by the manufacturers themselves is just there to confuse you further. Like your automobile commercials. Scion, for instance; tells people of its “new” boxer engine. They don’t tell you that VW’s used them since the 1930’s, Subaru since the ’70’s and many other normal applications. For Scion it’s a buzz-word, meant to confuse you.

I will do my best to help you understand. Apple for instance is quite tight due to its eco-system, problem is; to use it you need to allow access. Kinda like leaving your house unlocked so your kids can get in, and at the same time so can everyone else.

 

non secure iphone

 

Then we have the Android system…. that’s like not being able to lock your house at all because all the windows are missing or broken.

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……. and then you have BlackBerry , the most trusted most secure mobile system readily available to the consumer.

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…..and this is the system Blackberry has for its enterprise customers.

 

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….and this is BlackBerry in the near future, things are very hush-hush, but it seems that BlackBerry is making security their prime focus. Though this may not seem all that important to many people, just because they don’t realize it doesn’t mean it isn’t so. Just like most of the security features on the modern automobile, most of us don’t realize how they work…..or even that they exist for that matter. Until they save our life in an wreck.

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Lets start with Apple shall we; I’ve given them a break and won’t even mention the security disaster that is ios7 and go straight to ios8. After looking very hard for quite awhile, I found Apple themselves really did not say much about how they’ve improved security for the normal consumer. I did though find how they have made it even easier for intruders. You see, an iPhone is after all, an app launcher and all those apps do need access. Here’s what Symantec had to say on their blog, for those of you wondering -Symantec is a big name in security.  These are all features reported to be in ios8.

Always-on VPNs: This feature could greatly improve security when an iOS device is connected to a Wi-Fi hotspot, as users do not have to explicitly connect to the VPN in order to benefit from it.

  • Anti-tracking feature: The introduction of randomized media access control (MAC) addresses when scanning for Wi-Fi networks will make it harder for attackers to track users. Unfortunately, it will still be possible to track these devices once they’re connected to the same Wi-Fi network as an attacker or through other identifiers.
  • AirDrop service for spontaneous file sharing: The main concerns surrounding this feature are that a user might be tricked into accepting malicious files or may unintentionally share sensitive documents with the wrong person. 
  • Simple instant hotspot: iOS 8 will let users turn their mobile device into a hotspot with a single click. However, this could potentially let other people fake a pairing to this device and piggyback on the hotspot.
  • Handoff: This feature will allow users to start working on one iOS device and continue their work on a second device. It is unclear if the data will be passed through the cloud or will be sent directly to the device. Apple has also not detailed how the data will be secured from other parties attempting to intercept it.
  • Swift: The programing language Swift will have an influence on the quality of code that developers produce, but it will be a long time until all developers shift languages. “

 

seems they’ve become a natural target with no defenses

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Speaking of targets, the biggest and easiest is Android. Because they are the easiest AND the biggest, more people try to gain access (hack) android and it doesn’t really take much to get in (I’m told) it’s all about permissions and due to it’s fragmentation and the high amount of hardware variation…literally everyone needs to have permission. So the sorry little robot is best suited to play all those games that are available for it and leave the important work for something that will keep it safe. Which brings us to BlackBerry.

BlackBerry started out as a provider of the means for secure mobile communication. It is the bar that everybody is trying to reach and BlackBerry keeps raising

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so high in fact, that nobody else even comes close.

Here’s what BlackBerry says about security, right from their website http://ca.blackberry.com/business/enterprise-mobility/mobile-security.html if you want to read more

“Security you can trust

We live and breathe mobile security so you don’t have to. The BlackBerry® platform is purpose built for security, to deliver the best protection for work content, on device and in transit for both corporate-owned and BYOD devices. Your business data stays safe and your workers stay productive.

  • Satisfies the full range of security needs up to the very highest levels of security and control
  • Protection against data leakage and unauthorized devices accessing corporate assets
  • BlackBerry® Balance™ and Secure Work Space for iOS and Android™ provide high levels of security and control while protecting users’ experience and privacy
  • End-to-end data encryption through a single outbound port for all communications – no need for additional VPNs
  • Compliance monitoring of devices (e.g. alerts to jail-broken devices) and application usage (e.g. alerts related to install of non-white-listed apps)
  • Self-service portal allows for simple security management”

So tell me, how would you prefer to carry out your private transactions?

nnik

Love the outdoors, animals and repurposing old stuff

  • Brad

    Well, there’s not much in the way of ‘private transactions’ when you’re dealing with Android and iOS anyway! Lol

  • ital1

    Very nicely done Nik; you’ve taken what most people take for granted and explained it in an easy to understand format. What you describe above is actually one of the biggest reasons that I am a BlackBerry fan and user, SECURITY. Unfortunately, the tech and general media downplay the importance of it, until there’s a breach. Here’s a great idea, get a BlackBerry and you can appreciate the security you’ll get from the moment you turn it on. And while we’re on the topic of security, we can add privacy to the list as we can rest assured our private data isn’t for sale, or harvested for other purposes.

    • nnik

      I kinda take it for granted that my privacy means security

  • bbjoe2011

    This was such an easy article to follow and to understand. Thanks for all your hard work, Nik.

  • ray689

    Wow nice work Nik. Most people take it for granted and that is by design. Laying it out the way you did will make it understandable for anyone who cares to find out more.

  • Canuckvoip

    Nailed it Nik!
    People take their privacy and security for granted thinking “I have nothing to hide”. But that’s not the point. You wouldn’t plaster your personal info/phone number/credit info etc. on a website or even on the bathroom wall (well maybe there), so why are people so blasé about their mobile computing habits?
    Nuts!

    • nnik

      That was my intent with this write-up, to hopefully give people an understanding of the different options available to them, letting them make an informed choice

  • razrrob

    Ital1 brings up a good point, BlackBerry never mines or sells your data. It’s all about privacy from the ground up. Nice post

    • nnik

      Yup….. selling your data is selling your security

  • G-bone

    Great rundown! :D

    #ProBlackBerry

  • Blackjack

    Well written nik even a non geek should be able to understand..but will they? We will see unfortunately after the damage has been done. Security only becomes important sometimes by learning the hard way.

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