A mobile device (or handheld computer) is a computing device small enough to hold and operate in the hand. Typically, the device has a either flatscreen display with a small numeric keypad or alphanumeric keyboard, or a touchscreen providing a virtual keyboard and buttons (icons) on-screen. Many such devices can connect to the Internet and interconnect with other devices such as car entertainment systems or headsets via Wi-Fi, Bluetooth or near field communication (NFC). Integrated cameras, digital media players and Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities are common. Power is typically provided by a lithium battery. Mobile devices may run mobile operating systems that allow third-party apps specialized for said capabilities to be installed and run.
Employees aren't just bringing their mobile devices to the workplace — they're living on them. A 2015 study by Bank of America found that 55 percent of respondents sleep with their smartphones on their nightstands to avoid missing a call, text message or other update during the night. The devices are also the first thing on their minds in the morning: while 10 percent reported thinking of their significant other, 35 percent reserved their first thought of the day for their smartphone.
As smartphones and tablets become constant companions, cyber attackers are using every avenue available to break into them. Many people expect that iPhone or Android devices are secure by default, when in reality it is up to the user to make security configuration changes. With the right (inexpensive) equipment, hackers can gain access to a nearby mobile device in less than 30 seconds and either mirror the device and see everything on it, or install malware that will enable them to siphon data from it at their leisure.
Chief information security officers (CISOs) and other security executives are finding that the proliferation of mobile devices and cloud services present a significant barrier to effective breach response. In order to secure the corporate data passing through or residing on mobile devices, it is imperative to fully understand the issues they present.
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