Essay on Mobile Devices & Cyber Security
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The innovation in the modern society has affected the way we communicate and fundamentally influenced the business world (Business wire, 2012). It has reached a point of no return since dependence on these technologies and the critical support provided by the same has led to effective interaction and easy access to voluminous data from private and public clouds (Collins, 2013). Benefits such as e-commerce, revenue streams and social media companies would not be in existence without appropriate infrastructure (Drew, 2012). The ubiquitous technology has its downside. The vicious problem experienced by mobility is the vulnerability to cyber-attacks. These attacks compromise the security of most companies and are designed to siphon cash from companies, create interruptions in corporate world or access data of high sensitivity. This is a literature review that seeks to understand the impacts of evolving technologies such as mobile devices on cybersecurity and the strategies that may help in defending against the varied nature of cyber warfare weapons (Kaplan, Sharma & Weinberg, 2011).
Issues in the business world are the same and the vulnerability to cyber-attack arises from human engagement. For instance, connecting an infected mobile device in the network of the company, government agency and organization (Kaplan, Sharma & Weinberg, 2011). It can also entail clicking on a social link that appears harmless but it contains viruses such as Trojan or Worm which can siphon large amounts of data and remain undetected (Drew, 2012). The use of near field communication to carry out mobile transactions makes the platform an area of interest for financially targeted cybercrimes (Electronic Recycler, 2004). Trends such as BYOD (bring your own device) in the corporate world has created tendencies in cybersecurity issues, which range from loss of vital information to possible financial threats. Social media has been embraced by most people in the business world and this provides a platform for possible malware attack. Mobile devices have become the main target in commerce. This situation has been complicated by access to these devices (Business wire, 2012). Many people use and carry mobile devices, which have a higher speed processing power than the desktop computers (O’Hara, 2005). The problem is magnified since they are always in a connected state and pose as new sources and targets of cyber-attack.
The sales of smartphones and tablets have been on the increase since the devices were launched in the market. Over the year the sales of smartphones hit to 144.4 million mark while tablet shipments grew to over 120 % (Kaplan, Sharma & Weinberg, 2011). The upsurge in the mobile devices have sparked new focus for cyber-attacks with malicious software being on the rise (Drew, 2012). This has led to a large number of employees within an organization possessing a mobile device. With a policy such as BYOD in place, organizations have allowed employees to connect to their broadband network using their mobile devices. This practice come with its own benefit as well as risks.
The greatest risk of BYOD policy involves employees and business executive downloading client and personal information to their devices (Electronic Recycler, 2004). If unfortunately one of the devices is lost or misplaced, it might fall on wrong hands of cyber thieves (Collins, 2013). This might bring untold security risks to the company that could lead to the damage of its reputation and brand, which might be hard to recover (Drew, 2012). The fight against BYOD might prove challenging especially if the CEOs and other crucial stakeholders would like to access the work systems using their personal devices. Data breaches and other forms of cyber-attacks are compounded by over reliance and use of mobile devices.
Having a firm mobile security is crucial especially in situations where employees use personal devices in data transmission (Business wire, 2012). Government agencies play a vital role in the security of the people within a country or state. Compromised government agencies has adverse effects on the citizen especially due to the corrupted data files that influence better service delivery. According to Soumya Das, CMO for SecureAuth the government agencies should have stringent mobile security (Kaplan, Sharma & Weinberg, 2011). The CMO further asserts that network providers should focus at managing the control technology thus making the mobile devices less efficient.
Mobile access management should form the core of internal security within a government organization. In this case, the agencies act to identify providers who manage and create sign in ID to their employees (Electronic Recycler, 2004). The security provider recommends the use of several staged authentication methods within the cloud to offer better security. If one of the security method is compromised the administrator can shut it down remotely. Other authentication methods can find relevance instead (Collins, 2013). For the security measures within government agencies, cloud technology is versatile and flexible enough in managing the sophisticated authentication environment. A three step management plan has been in the offing for the management of mobile access environment. The IT leaders within the organization need to make the categories of employees’ endpoints (Collins, 2013). These categories include; online and mobile apps, platforms, cloud resources and web servers. The IT experts should also identify the groups or employees who work on the network. The final recommendation is that the government data sets even those on mobile devices should have privacy and protection rights.
The rise in Cyberattacks
The second quarter report that was released by McAfee shows an increase in malware attacks. The sophistication of the threats has made them difficult to spot and prevent. With the emergence and embracing of the social media platform, hackers have wide access to the information (Business wire, 2012). Cyberattacks may come in the form of an email from a friend, which after opening may compromise the software and data record in the computer. Cyber-attackers have taken a new approach in carrying out their businesses (Kaplan, Sharma & Weinberg, 2011). They are targeting the personal information as their prime target. They have also become precise in targeting specific information (O’Hara, 2005). This has made them elusive to target especially for security providers and anti-viruses. The use of social sites such as twitter has become a significant platform for threats in which the hackers use it to bypass the corporate security measures (Collins, 2013). Like aforementioned, the threat has been compounded by use of mobile device in companies. Traditional use of laptops and desktops have good security measures that have been added to them unlike the personal devices. The use of the personal devices provide the chain of threats especially within the organization (Corporate cyber-attack, 2005).
The Bluetooth technology has almost been incorporated into every mobile device such as phones, laptops for trading information wirelessly. Most mobile users leave the Bluetooth enabled for e-flirting (Kaplan, Sharma & Weinberg, 2011). The savvy systems are vulnerable to malware attacks. A technology developed in LA shocked many people since the ‘sniper rifle’ can hack Bluetooth devices within a mile range. This enables the hackers to access varied information on personal addresses and turn them into bugging devices (Drew, 2012). The new handy technology has become a target for most hackers who use it as a platform of carrying out their malicious master plan.
Cyber-attacks have also been used and developed to compromise the intelligence of security forces (Cyber Ark, 2004). The lack of uncompromised cybersecurity programs especially to mobile devices has become a challenge in dealing with cybercrime (Robinson, 2012). The Department of Defence inspector general argues that there is no efficient security program that has been configured to offer protection to the stored information or delete the information in case the device is lost (Collins, 2013). An internal audit that was carried showed that devices need to be secured failure to which vast information could be accessed by malicious parties (Business wire, 2012). This problem is common and experienced by private and commercial companies. One of the recommendation given by Shegerian is that when the devices are out of use they should be recycled. Instead of throwing old and unused devices, business should take the initiative of protecting their own privacy (Electronic Recycler, 2004). Data protection should form the pinnacle of each corporate body, individual mobile users and government bodies (Robinson, 2012). Personal data cannot be destroyed in the recycling process and thus it is still amenable to incidences of breaching. Thus it is vitally important for private data be secured (Kaplan, Sharma & Weinberg, 2011).
Vulnerability to cyber-attack due to rampant use of mobile devices is being discovered on a daily basis. There is the use of device passwords and other security measures provided by wireless network provides, which can be used to mitigate the vulnerabilities posed by the malware (Collins, 2013). The extent to which the above practices are followed are still not known. There is need of concerted effort to prevent this vulnerability. To fight the cybercrimes collaboration is required from all stakeholders.
Advice to Smartphone Users
Most of the cyber threats have impacted negatively on consumers and other enterprise users. The threats posed to mobile device users have become sophisticated at each day break, which increases the amount of damage arising from the security breach. Despite these troubles, most of the smartphone consumers have no clue to the damage posed. The mobile cyber-attacks are at their infancy and most consumers focus on the desktop and laptops. Cyber-criminals have turned their attention to mobile and smartphones in exploiting the personal data for their benefits.
Android has become a destiny for most cybercriminal for being popular and inadequate check measures to safeguard the OS (PR, 2011). Any application developer can add their product to the Android market thus creating an avenue for malware attack (Business wire, 2012). Thus it is advisable not to download most of the application. Android malware have been on the rise. The creators of these malware definitions are also reaching out to other operating systems such as iOS and Symbian (Kaplan, Sharma & Weinberg, 2011). The mobile device users are advised not to surf in unsafe sites and to refrain from downloading application without verification. Mobile users should take the personal initiative of protecting their devices from cyber-attacks (Robinson, 2012). The users of mobile devices should make sure that they are password-protected since most of the cyber-attacks are not only based on the software (Robinson, 2012). Mobile device users should be aware that cyber-criminals are always formulating new tricks to attack personal data. Constant surveillance and control imposed by IT department within an organization should be adhered to by all the employees (O’Hara, 2005).
The increased use of mobile devices has proved an immense challenge to data and company security. As most organization embrace the BYOD to empower their employees with devices such as tablets and iPads, data files are becoming distanced from the security architecture of the company. This has increased the tendencies of vast amounts of data being attacked.
Security providers are coming up with new measures to address some of the concerns with the purpose of enhancing mobile device security. Some of the features have been incorporated in software such as Cyber-Ark’s Governed File Transfer Suite. Such software from accredited sources have been used for file sharing and auditing. Incorporation of new features such as secure file exchange to mobile devices and tablets has been used to secure users who log on wirelessly (Robinson, 2012).
Addition of personalized watermark has been used for auditing and secure personal data. This enables corporate bodies to tag files, which are in use by the workforce to efficiently increase data security. The use of the watermark enable companies to track the use of file by time, location and date (Electronic Recycler, 2004). Organizations can set regulations that do not permit copy/paste option. Securing emails by integrating data loss prevention systems and retrieval systems in the web enable the workers to share files without any security risks regardless of the size within the working environment (PR, 2011). This provides the scanning option for viruses and malware before downloading the files (O’Hara, 2005).
There are other control measures that can be adopted by organizations to mitigate cyber-attack and IT security risks related to mobile devices (Cyber Ark, 2004). The use of lock codes on mobile devices is a recommendation for most mobile device users. This will allow the users to access the device. The companies and organization should make sure that the data is encrypted before storage (Robinson, 2012). Organizations can encourage their employees to sign agreements, which authorize erasing of personal files once the device is lost or stolen to prevent access of vital information in an organization. Companies and organizations alike should discourage the use of Wi-Fi within the public domain unless they route the information via Virtual Private Network (VPN), which allows encryption between the device and the host server.
Employees should also be encouraged in using secure websites that begin with ‘http’ as the address line (Kaplan, Sharma & Weinberg, 2011). Another option of avoiding public network is using direct internet connection such as 3G and 4G network from trusted suppliers such as AT&T and Verizon (Kirby, 2012). To prevent the loss of devices especially smartphones, Bluetooth leashing technology can be used. Geo-tracking is an alternative technology that can be used to lock phones that have been misplaced (Robinson, 2012). The Apple Company, for instance, has application such as Find My iPad and Find My iPhone which can be used to locate and lock lost phones.
Organization and other accounting firms should come into terms with the cyber risks that are associated with mobile devices. Mobility and cybersecurity are concerns that need to be addressed in the current generation. Setting up necessary parameters will help in preventing and checking incidences of cyber-attack. All the stakeholders should take the initiative to prevent numerous computer system attack and data breaches (Robinson, 2012). Individual roles involves the use of password that mixes numerals and lower letter cases, which are not easily compromised by malware. Security should be the first priority and convenience the last resort. Allowing this policy will go an extra mile in preventing personal data attack.
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