Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Mobile Safety for Your Data

While many of us have system protection such as antivirus, software or hardware firewalls, and or something like Norton Internet Security.  I've always been the paranoid type but as a Mac users, some of us may have bought into the idea that we're safe from hackers, viruses, and other forms of attack from the mean streets of the World Wide Web (kids, that's what the www stands for, yes, the Internet has been around for a while).

About five years ago, I walked into an Apple store to buy a script writing program and I was surprised to see Norton's anti-virus for the Mac.  I asked the Apple guy helping me and he chucked and said, "don't get it.  It's a waste of money.  Unless you want to get it to protect your Windows friends".  I had thought that was kind of funny myself and that comment has always been with me.  I used it on occasion when a hapless friend would get a virus.

What it really comes down to as far as protecting our data and mobile devices is that white stuff in our head, our brain.  Our smarts.  No amount of virtual fortress can be installed if the user insists on letting in invaders.  Phishing is the most common way in which consumers are duped into willing give up their personal information to cyber criminals for identity theft.  According to Consumer Reports, one out of every thirteen households willing gave their personal information to thieves.

A surprising fact is the lack of phishing protection (Computerworld) on some OS such as the OS X for the Mac.  It has lead to Consumer Reports to recommend to Mac users to use Firefox as an alternative.  We've received countless e-mails from supposedly banks asking for account information for a variety of reasons.  And once in a while, e-mails would come into our spam box proclaiming to have naked pictures of one celebrity or another.  I can see how someone may be tempted to click on a variety of these spam mails, especially the ones from the "banks" claiming account verification is needed because of suspicious activities.  (The Nigerian princes seemed to have found their fortune because I've not heard from them in years.)

  • You've got smart, so use it (we know because you're reading Onxo ;)   )  If an user insists on clicking through a phishing e-mail and providing information or visiting an unfamiliar site that may download malware onto his or her system, no amount of protection can prevent what may happen next.
  • Onxo has made it a point to tell users to avoid sites readers are not familiar with.  
  • Do use a virus protection or at the very least, turn on the software firewall that comes with the operating system.  It is better than nothing.  
  • Do not asssume a Mac is immuned from the bad elements of the Internet.  OS X may not be affected by Windows viruses but it is not immune to Mac-specific trojan horses.  There was a couple of reported incidents.  So, yes, it can happen.  
  • Scanning the hard drive can be a drag, as it takes a long time and slows down the system.  Nonetheless, it is important to do it.  It a part of our lives.  
Windows Vista users have reportedly experienced less incidents of attacks than users on the XP.  According to Computerworld, it may simply be an instant in which users find Vista difficult to navigate and, thus, more careful on the Internet.

Bottomline, you are all that is between a cyber thief and your personal information.  If there are any personal habits mobile warriors employ to avoid phishing and safe-guard their personal data and information, we like you to share it with Onxo and our readers.

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