Symantec, the malware prevention vendor, planted 50 phones in five cities across the US and Canada in an experiment to determine what happens to lost phones. 83% of the phones showed that attempts had been made to access corporate information on the phones. A file titled, “HR Salaries” was accessed on 53% of the phones. Only 50% of the phones were returned by the finders.
If you do find a wallet, you do have to open it to determine the rightful owner but there is no reason to check how much money is in the wallet. It’s not a pleasant thought that only half of the phones were returned to the owner. It doesn’t say much about modern society. “Finders keepers” is not the right thing to do. Another thing to consider is that information was accessed on the phones. The information that your phone holds is probably worth more than the phone.
Computers frequently “grow” legs and walk away too but most people would probably agree that the information is worth more than the computer. Do you encrypt information on your computer? Most government and corporate laptops are required to be encrypted. In the event of a theft or misplaced computer, no proprietary information would be compromised.
What is encryption and how does it protect information from being stolen? Encryption is the process of taking your information and scrambling it up to prevent an unauthorized party from viewing the information. You might think that is easy to encrypt something but it is more difficult than substituting letters in a message. Even if you know the process used to encrypt the information, it won’t do you any good without the “key”.
Modern encryption techniques use common procedures but the process depends on the decoder having the proper key. Consider the key to be a password. If the intended user doesn’t have the key, he or she is out of luck. Even if you know the algorithm used to encrypt the information, you can’t see anything without the proper key.
The best encryption will fall apart if a weak key is used. Do you use an easy password to remember? The most common password used is “password”. You can be really tricky and make it “Password”. You might think that you are being clever by using your phone number or your significant other’s birthday but security experts know what information to use.
One hacker attempted to gain access to women’s email. He used information harvested from their facebook accounts to determine their passwords. You could say the women gave the hacker all he needed to gain access to their email.
You can never be sure that a password can’t be guessed but don’t make it easy for a thief.