Smart phone security 101
With the growing computing power of smart phones allowing users to work on the go, more than 75 percent of lawyers now carry such mobile devices, necessitating security measures to protect confidential law firm and client data.
In his recent article, “Smart Phone Security 101,” ABA Legal Technology Research Center staffer Stephen Stine shares several basics on keeping smart phone data secure.
Use a password – Using a log-in password is the first and most important step in securing smart phone data. However, Stine urges lawyers not to use “swipe” log-in methods, which have been shown to leave smudge patterns when users unlock their phones with the swipe gesture of their choosing. Stine cites a New York Times article that reports that such gestures can be guessed 68 percent of the time under certain kinds of lighting.
Enable encryption features – “On certain smart phones, log-in passwords can be used in conjunction with on-device encryption,” says Stine, indicating that the combination is powerful data protection that “renders data on the phone inaccessible to anyone without proper authorization.” Certain Windows mobile phones, BlackBerrys and Nokia Symbian phones as well as the iPhone 3GS and 4 include on-device encryption. While Android phones do not currently include the feature, Stine recommends third-party software such as Nitrodesk Touchdown and Good for Enterprise to add some limited on-device encryption protection.
Backup your data – Backups ensure that important smart phone data isn’t lost if the mobile device or the information kept on it is somehow destroyed. For iPhone users, Stine reports that certain data can be backed up using iTunes, either manually or automatically when syncing the device with a computer. Remember to encrypt the backups, advises Stine.
Seek third-party security measures – There are various third-party software packages that provide added security. For instance, Lookout—available in free and premium versions for Android, Windows Mobile and BlackBerry phones—offers remote backup, remote tracking, remote data wiping, and protections against viruses and malware.
Do not “jail break” your phone – “Jailbreaking a phone to access unsupported features could not only void the phone’s warranty, but could also make the device more susceptible to malware such as viruses and Trojans.”
“Smart Phone Security 101” appeared in the January 2011 issue of the Family Law e-newsletter, a publication of the Section of Family Law.
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