Mobile AppsMobilitySecuritySecurity ManagementSmartphones

Could Your Apps Be Putting Your Smartphone At Risk?

Michael Moore joined TechWeek Europe in January 2014 as a trainee before graduating to Reporter later that year. He covers a wide range of topics, including but not limited to mobile devices, wearable tech, the Internet of Things, and financial technology.

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Smartphone users need to be aware of what data their mobile apps have access to, say Silent Circle and Blackphone

Today marks International Data Privacy Day, when companies and consumers worldwide are encouraged to think about how they stay safe online.

To mark the occasion, Silent Circle and Blackphone, the companies behind the security-focused Blackphone mobile device, have released a video demonstrating how little we all know about the permissions we are giving away via the apps and services on our mobile phone.

Several recent high-profile hacking scandals at the likes of Sony have shown how an employee’s personal mobile phones are often the entry point for data breaches, a worrying thought when 75 percent of businesses today are being run on the personal phones of their employees.

“…when I see what happened to Sony recently — the data stored on their servers leaked to the world — my mind goes to that difference between privacy and security,” Silent Circle and Blackphone co-founder Phil Zimmerman said.

“I’m sure Sony had firewalls and VPNs, intrusion detection and antivirus, policies and procedures — all the usual artifacts of corporate information security.  Those things securely delivered a mountain of information to Sony’s servers, where it was lost all at once.

“When it was lost, the privacy of Sony’s partners and employees went with it.  That’s what corporate privacy is — the privacy of the people in and around the corporation. If we focus on their privacy rather than the corporation’s security maybe we can make better choices.  Many kinds of information don’t need to be stored for long, or at all.  If only participants keep a copy of their correspondence the company can’t lose it.  Imagine how much worse the damage of a security breach would be if companies routinely kept years of recordings of all employees’ phone calls.

“Protecting the privacy of individuals is why I started PGP, and why Mike and I started Silent Circle.  But at Silent Circle we’ve come to realize that protecting individuals at work may be the strongest form of corporate security possible.  That’s what we’re working on, and we hope that you’ll join us.”

Can you look after your personal data online? Take our quiz!