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Android smartphones: security's weakest link.

Trend Micro's Tim Falinski says everyone knows you need security when using laptops and desktops. "People are less aware of the threats when using tablets and smartphones. These days the weakest link is not your PC or notebook, it is all the other devices," he says.

"That list includes things like fridges connected to the net, web-attached cameras and routers. It can also mean home security. Home security hardware might have military grade encryption, but if you use your smartphone to access it, it can be vulnerable if your phone is stolen or hacked."

Phones are now the biggest problem. It took only six months for the total number of malware and high risk smartphone apps to climb from one to two million. Falinski says while Android devices are especially vulnerable, no brand or operating system is immune.

People know to put password protection on their phones, but Falinski says they are not careful enough when downloading apps. "In the PC world, you know you can trust a program from a company like Microsoft. Things are not the same with smartphone apps. Many come from companies you have never heard of."

He says although you can reduce risk by restricting your purchases to the official Google Play app store, you won't eliminate it. Apps often ask for permission to use information such as your location. People rarely look at this and rarely ask why an app designed to do something needs to know where you are at any given moment.

All of this explains why Trend Micro has shifted the focus of Internet Security 2015 software. It now includes a password manager to help create and save strong, protective passwords, tools to check privacy on social media sites, software to warn against risky websites and a secure web browser.

Internet Security 2015 works with Windows and Mac computers, iOS and Android devices. Business owners can buy licences covering multiple devices. Prices start at $50 covering one PC; the $150 licence will protect up to six devices.

Bill Bennett looks at the technologies helping shape our business lives.

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Title Annotation:TECH STUFF
Author:Bennett, Bill
Publication:NZ Business
Date:Nov 1, 2014
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