The Disconnect Between Cell Phones and Security

Just came across some extremely troubling news about the security vulnerabilities of cell phones.

Basically, these handheld electronic communication devices that we have embraced and allowed to infiltrate every walk of life around the globe pose some of the most serious security concerns imaginable. As you will see in a report below, mischievious or nefarious people can listen to your conversations, receive text message alerts when you are using your phone, view all incoming and outgoing phone numbers, and tap into your phone’s GPS capability to track wherever you go. And the most stunning revelation of all, they can even listen to your conversations through the phone when it is not in use! Congratulations, cell phone makers—you have littered the world with a giant network of bugging devices.

Now these activities are accomplished using illegal software but how could cell phone manufacturers have designed, distributed and sold millions and millions of these devices without putting them through rigorous security vulnerability testing? I’ll tell you how, by being overly concerned with flashy features most of us don’t need, chic styling and PROFITS. This is the scariest revelation about cell phones since reports citing an alleged radio wave-brain cancer link. Not to mention one of the leading causes of auto accidents is drivers distracted by handheld devices. What sort of madness have we unleashed on our society? Wasn’t life a little less stressful when you were a little more difficult to reach?

As a citizen I am frightened and appalled that regulatory agencies like the FTC fail to protect us from these dangers, and how corporate greed continues to supersede ethics. As a security industry professional, I am angered that all our industry’s hard work and safety mission gets undermined by products, agendas and policies that allow ignorance or self-interests to disregard or compromise security.

As you will see in the news report I have linked below, the best they can come up with right now to safeguard against these cell phone breaches is by removing the battery when you are not using the phone. Gee, that’s practical! “Sorry I missed your emergency call, but I had taken the battery out of my phone.” It goes without saying that everyone should think twice about divulging any personal information on or near a cell phone, and they should not place any sensitive information within the memory of the device. I suppose eventually the manufacturers will alter their software and offer security patches. But as we all know, the criminals are usually a step ahead of the software writers and in the case of cell phones, they have a sizeable head start.

Take a look at this report and let me know what you think.

As always, thanks for reading.

Scott Goldfine



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