Staying Safe, Secure and Mobile

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The advent of technology brings related concerns, including safety, security and potential for misuse. With each step forward, uncharted territory is uncovered, leaving room for ill-advised use of new capabilities. Mobile phones have become entrenched in daily habits, leading some irresponsible users to overstep their function. Through voice contact and texting, smartphones are the new standard for staying connected, but the rise of mobile prominence has taken-off too fast, leading to unsafe conditions.

Texting and talking on the phone while motoring have become commonplace, despite the inherent dangers and legal prohibition against using a mobile on the road. Motorists continue to take their lives into their hands and jeopardize others safety with this unsafe practice, drawing attention and legal action against the dangerous habit.

In addition to risk posed by users themselves, mobile phones are also subject to infiltration from data thieves and opportunists committed to exploiting personal privacy and security. The added peril can be minimized; using safe handling and electronic security measures, but remains a concern for every mobile phone user.

Technology is valuable, so consumers on the cutting edge pay premium prices for the latest and greatest mobile phone features. Smartphones, especially the newest models, are targeted by thieves looking for quick cash. Unfortunately for these opportunists, giant security strides have made it more difficult to profit from smartphone theft. Kill switches are now deployed on many models, drastically reducing the flow of stolen mobile devices.

Staying safe and secure now includes measures covering mobile phones and their users. As the standard for communication and entertainment, the deeply entrenched devices are vulnerable on multiple fronts. Fortunately, applying common sense precautions ensures trouble-free outcomes for mobile phone users committed to reducing risk.

Phone Thefts Down as Security Ramps Up

The value of smartphones and their widespread presence create easy targets for opportunistic thieves. Not only do they have plenty of available marks, but the black market readily embraces the flow of stolen devices. In a major victory for mobile phone owners, Google, Apple and Samsung have begun incorporating additional security features in their latest models.

Kill switches enable customers to take action once their phones have been stolen. The enhanced security provides tracking capabilities, which shows owners where their devices are located. And the security also allows them to lock their phones, so thieves cannot use them. Ultimately, phones can be wiped using the powerful anti-theft feature, rendering them useless on the illegitimate market. Although the capability is not mandated by law, it represents the future security standard for all major producers.

A report issued by the London Mayor’s office earlier this year points to a sharp decline in the number of mobile phones stolen since the new lockout technology has been utilized. Like major U.S. cities, London’s success reducing phone theft has been drastic with the addition of GPS and other security enhancements. Mobile phone theft reports are down by as much as 50% within the city.

Data Defences

Mobile devices are used to conduct business and share sensitive information. As a result, thieves target mobile units to exploit apps and expose data users expect to remain secure. Adequate defence includes frequent security updates as well as other recommendations from phone makers and service providers.

No one is entirely insulated from mobile phone threats. In a recent case surrounding an iPhone exploit, many users thought they’d addressed the issue, which has returned to haunt some iPhone and iPad clients. The Masque Attack, as the original was known leads to unwanted, malicious downloads that look like legitimate apps. Apple’s most recent update takes care of the problem for most users, but as many as one-third of the devices in-use may still be at risk.

Tragic Outcomes for Distracted Motorists

Sensible prohibitions exist for motoring while operating hand-held electronic devices. The practice continues, however, so steeper penalties are in store for UK motorists tempted to put other at risk with their phones.

Julie Watson was recently convicted and jailed for a five-year term for killing a cyclist on the road. Ms. Watson was apparently talking on her hand-held mobile phone when the accident occurred. Forty-nine year-old Alistair Speed, an experienced rider, died of head injuries sustained when he was struck by Ms. Watson.
She complicated her circumstances further by attempting to hide her call by deleting the record from her phone. The judge pointed to a mobile phone’s ability to kill, when misused.

Uncertain outcomes are a natural product of advancing technology. Until new phone capabilities are fully explored, for instance, unanticipated risk can emerge from the use of new devices and their ever-growing suite of features. Smartphones have been around long enough for service providers and manufacturers to address shortcomings, adding increased safety and security to each new model released. Paired with responsible behavior, especially on the road, these enhancements are having a positive impact on mobile phone safety and protection.

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