News: Is your smart device secure?

By the end of 2015 there will be 1.9 billion smartphone users worldwide. They will increase to 2.16 billion by 2016, up 12.6% in a single year. Even in Malta, smartphone and tablet use is on an exponential increase. The two main players in the market, namely Apple and their Android counterparts, are in fierce competition to offer faster, rigid and new functionality on their devices.

Apart from the hardware functionality, apps turn your device into anything you need it to be –a car sat-nav system, a game console, an internet browsing machine and a monitoring station for your data centre. I once managed to configure an array of these and make LUNs (Logical Unit Number) available to hosts on a storage system while sitting on a bench in Hyde Park. My tablet was connected to my wife’s smartphone sharing a 3G network… and the storage array was connected to our office LAN in Malta!

This functionality and accessibility makes our lives easier, but we tend to overlook the risks associated with such technologies. Smart devices are becoming increasingly lighter and smaller with the aim to ease portability. This in turn makes them increasingly vulnerable for loss or theft. If no precautions are taken, you might end up losing a device providing easy access to your email and social network accounts, photos and other personal contacts and data.

Here’s how you can have a secure smart device:

  • Is your device set to automatically lock after a short period of inactivity As with all electronic and computing devicesback up your data in case you lose the device.


  • Is your device locked? How easy is it to unlock it? Is it just a simple swipe or is an unlock code or touch multiple points on a grid? If you have answered yes to these questions, well done! You have made it difficult for an unauthorised user to gain access to your device.


  • What about the data on the internal storage or the even easier accessible micro SD card within your device?
  • The fourth step is to encrypt your device. This makes device data on both the phone and micro SD accessible only once it is decrypted when the device boots.

Make sure encryption is done before you start to use your device or else you will lose all data during the initial encryption process. These settings are usually natively available on most devices and can be found within the security section of your device’s settings.

Once these steps are taken care of you can be the proud owner of ansecure smart device. Companies, on the other hand, may opt to increase security and use mobile device management which would enable a wide array of remote options and capabilities.

Good luck!

Dennis Debono - Head of Technical Services & Stores, Technical Services & Stores

Click here to download a free copy of Avira Antivirus for your device!