Last Updated: 10-Nov-2010
When you think about Cyber Security, remember that electronics such as cell phones and PDAs may also be vulnerable to attack. Take appropriate precautions to limit your risk.
Why does Cyber Security extend beyond computers?
Actually, the issue is not that cyber security extends beyond computers; it is that computers extend beyond traditional laptops and desktops. Many electronic devices are computers
- from cell phones and PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) to video-games and car navigation systems. While computers provide increased features and functionality, they also introduce new risks. Attackers may be able to take advantage of these technological advancements to target devices previously considered "safe".
For example, an attacker may be able to infect your cell phone with
a virus, steal your phone or wireless service, or access the data on
your PDA. Not only do these activities have implications for your
personal information, but they could also have serious consequences
if you store corporate information on the device.
What types of electronics are vulnerable?
Any piece of electronic
equipment that uses some kind of computerized component is
vulnerable to software imperfections and vulnerabilities. The risks
increase if the device is connected to the internet or a network
that an attacker may be able to access. Remember that a wireless
connection also introduces these risks. The outside connection
provides a way for an attacker to send information to or extract
information from your device.
How can you protect yourself?
Remember physical security - Having physical access to a device makes it easier for an attacker to extract or corrupt information. Do not leave your device unattended in public or easily accessible areas.
Keep software up-to-date - If the vendor releases patches for the software operating your device, install them as soon as possible. These patches may be called firmware updates. Installing them will prevent attackers from being able to take advantage of known problems or vulnerabilities.
Use good passwords - Choose devices that allow you to protect your information with passwords. Select passwords that will be difficult for thieves to guess, and use different passwords for different programs and devices. Do not choose options that allow your computer to remember your passwords.
Disable remote connectivity - Some PDAs and phones are equipped with wireless technologies, such as Bluetooth, that can be used to connect to other devices or computers. You should disable these features when they are not in use.
Encrypt files - Although most devices do not offer you an option to encrypt files, you may have encryption software on your PDA. If you are storing personal or corporate information, see if you have the option to encrypt the files. By encrypting files, you ensure that unauthorized people can't view data even if they can physically access it. When you use encryption, it is important to remember your passwords & pass-phrases; if you forget or lose them, you may lose your data.