Posts Tagged ‘security’

Will a mobile “kill switch” be the death of smartphone theft?

March 19, 2014

ImageLast month, the US proposed a new law: the Smartphone Theft Prevention Act. The bill attempts to address the growing problem of mobile phone theft, which is currently costing consumers over $30bn annually in the states alone, by installing a “kill switch” onto all smartphones.

Not only is your phone being pinched a massive inconvenience (and potentially pretty costly) but there’s also the chance that your personal data gets into the wrong hands. So could the answer to our woes be a remotely transmitted kill message, rendering the device useless if triggered?

Obviously its purpose is to protect us as consumers, but that kind of judicial power could so easily be abused once the infrastructure is up and running. What if the system was cracked by hackers, who could then quite easily disable huge numbers of smartphones at a time?

It would be damaging enough if it were just consumers affected, but imagine if hackers targeted groups like the emergency services or the Ministry of Defence. The consequences would be catastrophic. The process could be designed to be reversible, but if hackers are smart enough to crack the system in the first place they would surely have no problem getting around that.

And so the mobile industry finds itself at a crossroad. Providers have so far been hesitant to employ such drastic tactics, suggesting the use of less invasive software tracking and data erasure options instead. Apple already has a similar function available on their smartphones, but at the moment you have to opt-in to activate it. If this bill passes, it would mean the kill switch was automatically activated on devices and consumers would have to opt-out in order to bypass it.

It seems that the price we’re paying to protect ourselves against today’s cyber criminals is growing. We’re ending up losing the control over our data that we were trying so hard to hold on to in the first place. The key to moving forward is going to be in finding a balance between security and control –whilst simultaneously driving crime figures down.

At BuddyBackup, we’re obviously very passionate about protecting your data by backing it up to another device, just in case disaster strikes. We’re more dependent on our smartphones than ever before – they pretty much contain our entire identity these days. While BuddyBackup doesn’t currently support mobile devices, there are apps out there that do and we’d strongly recommend checking them out.


Author: Cassie Holmes, BuddyBackup

Is your digital footprint stomping on your chance of career progression?

November 4, 2013

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You hear a lot these days about the dangers of hackers, cloners and spyware, and the risks they pose to your identity. But how much thought do you give to the information you voluntarily share online? Your digital footprint could pose more of a threat than you think.

We’re constantly being encouraged to be digital, to share our opinions on discussion boards, to post our photos on social media sites – but this freedom of speech can be very damaging to your personal and professional reputation. The state of California has recently introduced a law allowing teenagers to delete certain elements of their digital footprints, in the hopes of giving them a better chance of employment. But, with over a third of employers checking candidates’ social media sites during the interview process, surely it would just be better to prevent the need for damage control in the first place?

Keep track of your footprint

Search for yourself regularly online and browse the results. A lot of sites aren’t exactly forthcoming about their privacy policies – you’ll usually need to change your settings from the defaults in order to ensure your information is not searchable by anyone else. Keep on top of policy updates too, because more often than not you’ll have to opt out of new policies in order to protect your privacy.

Go through search results and remove yourself from directories and mailing lists that you may have inadvertently signed up to, as they could be storing personal information that is publicly accessible.

Use it to your advantage

Of course, the internet can be used to your advantage. You can create a positive online name for yourself that can enhance your chances of progression. Showcase your creativity by posting engaging content or interesting blog posts, so when employers search for you online, what they find are the musings of a knowledgeable and passionate employee.

Sites like LinkedIn and Twitter are the perfect place to do some professional networking. You can connect with colleagues and industry peers, contribute to online discussions, and create a strong profile that will stand out from the crowd. It’s a good idea to create separate accounts for personal and business use, so the pictures from your wild night out are kept hidden.

Don’t forget about it

Privacy policies are continually changing, and new ways of sharing information online are being developed all the time. Every time you sign up for a new site, or agree to be added to a mailing list, you are adding to your digital footprint. Every few months revisit your settings, and delete anything that you wouldn’t want your employer to see.

We are completely open with our privacy policy (if you want, you can have a read of it here!), and we will always notify our users of any changes that will affect them. Protecting the privacy of your data is a big factor, especially when using a cloud-based backup service, and so we try our best to prove security is our priority.

Ultimately, digital footprints are unavoidable; most people these days have one before they’re even born. But they’re not going anywhere, and they’re not something to be feared if you keep on top of them. Capitalise on yours and turn into your own unique selling point – it could become a unique tool for career progression.


Author: Cassie Holmes, Buddy Backup