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Category Archives: NCSA
October is national online Cyber Security Awareness Month. Sponsored by National Cyber Security Awareness, this is a month that calls for all individuals, businesses, parents and online users of every type to set aside a few moments for learning or refreshing our memories about staying safe online.
In a great infographic, NCSA has gathered some statistics to support his year’s theme, “shared responsibility.” We need to consider the idea that we’re all responsible for the safety and well-being of the Internet, and treat it as the valuable public resource it provides. NCSA’s figures and facts are fascinating and, maybe, somewhat disturbing.
90 percent of us feel insecure online
Did you know that, while 90 percent of Americans believe a safe Internet is vital to our country’s economy, the same percentage aren’t comfortable that they’re safe from Internet crime?
That’s a concern, since 59 percent have jobs that are dependent upon the Internet and, in fact, 32% of those state their business is entirely dependent on the Internet. You can compare this scenario to having to ride a deficient subway every single day, and not knowing if the rails are going to break or if the train will be overtaken by thugs. It’s imperative that we be able to depend upon the Internet day in and day out, yet, we still have a strong sense that it’s unsafe. And, unfortunately, we’re not wrong about that.
A whopping 80 percent of American adults use the Internet for searching for information to watching videos, and everything in between. It’s no longer a novelty to have online access when 80% of the adult population uses it. The Internet has become our cyber lifeline in so many respects that to ignore its safety would be irrational. So, how can we take responsibility for Internet safety?
Follow some smartphone best practices
- Use a strong password and change it often – many people don’t.
- Back up your device regularly – 58 percent don’t.
- Develop a strong enforceable security policy on the jobsite – 44 percent say one doesn’t exist where they work.
- Install a powerful security app on your device – 64 percent haven’t.
- NCSA advises us to always stop and think before going online, with their national awareness campaign called “Stop, Think, Connect.”
- Keep a clean machine
- Protect our personal information
- Own our online presence
- When in doubt, throw it out
- Be a good online citizen.
Citizenship and the Internet
We encourage everyone who goes online, even if it’s only seldom, to check out NCSA’s website for valuable tips, facts and information. Taking personal responsibility for the Internet is a concept whose time has come, and no one is exempt.
Americans learned to recycle, establish air quality standards, stop littering, control water pollution, and take personal measures every day to protect our environment. Now it’s time for us to learn how to be responsible for the online environment, as well. It’s a good cause that will reap collective rewards in the future.
Do you have some ideas about how changing our Internet habits will help us in the future? We’d like to hear your views on our blog, or on our Facebook page.
NQ Mobile’s joining National Cyber Security Alliance’s efforts to make October the best National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM) yet!
NCSA is the developer of “Stop, Think, Connect,” a well-known prompt used by parents, employers and teachers to bring more conscious awareness to our Internet activities. As the theme of this year’s National Cyber Security Awareness Month, NCSA chose Our Shared Responsibility. What’s it all about?
“We each have a role in our digital safety.”
October is a great month for focusing on the safety and security of all people in our digital world, and this year we’re contemplating our individual roles in preserving the digital safety and security of our population. Why should we care?
Each year we all become more reliant on digital technology, even when we’re not using it directly. Digital technology helps run your doctor’s office and local hospital, the library, the military, the local grocery store, government agencies, banks, public transportation, the stock market – almost any aspect of modern life you can think of has an underlying digital component – not to mention our country’s burgeoning love of personal mobile devices like phones and tablets.
Across the country, businesses, schools and private individuals take time in October to boost the cyber-education of those around them. Teachers conduct lessons, businesses hold special workshops and events, workplaces post flyers and brochures, important policy makers meet to discuss new possibilities, and companies like NQ Mobile dive even more deeply into our efforts to educate the public about cyber safety.
What’s NQ Mobile doing in October?
We get excited about October because NQ Mobile, along with NCSA, goes into high gear with our educational activities. Here are just some of our October events:
- We just officially introduced Family Guardian, the ultimate safety app to protect kids who use smartphones
- We’re launching our Guard Your Mobile Family website – a treasure trove of information, articles, facts and tips for learning about mobile safety.
- We’re creating a toolkit on our NQ Guard Your Mobile Family site, to help families and teachers employ safe practices and habits.
- We’re blogging vigorously about cyber safety, putting as much helpful information as possible out into the blogosphere each week.
- We’re inviting parents, teachers and employers to visit our websites and learn about mobile safety as it applies to every aspect of our lives.
- We’re reminding our customers to take advantage of the free safety tools we offer.
What can you do?
- Check out our new site, NQ Mobile Family and peruse the insights and info available there.
- Check out NCSA’s website, staysafeonline.org, for tips and a calendar of October events.
- Organize a family meeting to discuss safety practices and habits.
- Get involved in efforts in your community and workplace to help spread the word about online safety.
- Watch for our weekly blog posts to get important information about mobile protection, safety and security.
- Join the discussion on our Facebook page.
The Internet is owned by all of us. If each of us takes responsibility for learning as much as we can about mobile safety, we’re in a better position to protect this precious resource. Let’s each do our own personal part by learning, developing good habits, and talking to others about National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM).
It’s a beautiful time of year. Kids are playing outside, people are tending their gardens and nature‘s putting on a show. It’s a great time for connecting with family and friends, after a long winter. Send your friends an e-card, or text a sweet message to your significant other this week. Refresh your relationships with old friends, or text a funny joke to your kids.
Never before has it been so easy to stay in touch with those we love. So, let’s make sure our communications aren’t interrupted by that black cloud of malware seemed to loom in the cyber sphere this winter.
We suggest these springtime smartphone rituals to help you prepare for this busy season.
- Do a bit of inspection on your smartphone now, and every couple months or so. Get rid of any apps or files that are just taking up space. Spring’s a good time to get a fresh start, and a “clean” phone is no exception.
- Look carefully at your bill. Make sure that you recognize all the charges. If you don’t, call your carrier and get to the bottom of it.
- Change your password. If you haven’t done it for a while, it’s a good time to start fresh. Try using the initials of words that you find uplifting or inspiring, such as a title of a song you love. Don’t forget to use upper and lower case, and add a number or special symbol.
- Make sure any new updates have been downloaded, and that your phone’s in top shape.
- Speaking of cleaning, it’s a good idea to wipe your phone occasionally with a mild disinfectant, especially if someone else uses it. Get rid of any winter germs that might be lingering there from your hands or mouth. Don’t get it wet, and don’t use any strong chemicals.
- If you haven’t done so already, download the strongest mobile security software on the market. Protect your phone, with one easy download, from viruses, Trojans and all kinds of malware and privacy invasion.
Now, your smartphone’s shiny, clean and ready for a beautiful season of unfettered connecting! Like all of the the objects that give us pleasure in life, your phone needs occasional maintenance in order to provide you with the best service. Now go outside, call your mom, and enjoy the wonders of springtime.
Download the Mobile Security and Privacy Family Survey
When teenagers are home alone, the first rule of the house is often, “Don’t open the door to a stranger.” Children learn very early not to accept rides from strangers, and not to hold conversations someone they don’t know. When we teach kids about stranger danger, we try subtly to make them understand that, while most people are good, not everyone can be trusted. While it’s good to have a basic trust in humanity, kids must learn to be aware of how to protect themselves in a world where not everyone shares a high level of morality.
Accordingly, NQ Mobile and agencies such as NCSA work diligently to inform and educate people about risks that lurk when we use smartphones. We love mobile technology and in no way want to discourage people from purchasing and using their trusted smartphones, but it’s important, especially when there are young mobile users in the home, to firmly and gently enforce some basic safety rules when it comes to using our mobile devices.
For many smartphone users – kids included – the phone becomes an entity in itself. It’s a link to the world that we never had in the past, and it keeps us plugged in to the present. We can buy products, services, games and utilities. We can check the news, read and send email and text, and even track our geographical movements with this one little spectacular instrument. However, as a link the rest of the world, the phone opens up a vulnerability to stranger danger, just like opening the front door when you don’t know who’s behind it.
We encourage all parents to familiarize themselves with the risks and warning signs of malware and potential stranger danger that exists in the mobile world. Kids need to realize there are lots of smart folks out there with bad intentions, who would usurp our personal information and use it for dishonest purposes. Although your kids don’t see these strangers in person, their handiwork can lurk inside of game apps, unfamiliar texts and email messages, phony websites and unsecured Wi-Fi connections.
When our kids are made aware of the risks, it’s easy for them to make better decisions about what they download, what they click on and how they use their phones. When that knowledge comes in the form of family rules that your kids can embrace, you can rest more comfortably about their exposure to the world through their mobile devices.
Download the full 2012 Consumer Survey
Tomorrow, January 28, 2012, has been declared Data Privacy Day by the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA). Events are planned worldwide to recognize and honor a day devoted to learning, understanding and teaching online safety. This is our third blog this week discussing the results of the Consumer Survey we conducted in collaboration with NCSA. If you missed the first two, be sure to check them out.
The 2012 Consumer Survey we did with NCSA has opened the eyes of many of us in the security industry about the vague level of knowledge that exists in our population about smartphone safety. It’s not that people really don’t give a hoot about having their personal data stolen – not at all. For some, malware may not have yet touched their lives in any significant way. Mobile malware has reached almost epidemic proportions in countries like Russia and China, but the problem is now growing quickly in our country. For some, there exists only a hazy awareness of the risks, and some folks think they’re already somehow protected from malware. While there’s a significant level of concern about security among smartphone users, there’s a noticeable gap in our knowledge and education about it.
Let’s look at more of the intriguing findings from our study.
* A strong majority of folks (78%) are concerned about security threats related to smartphones. But, when we asked our participants about specific security concerns, we found out that women are generally more concerned about every type of threat than are men. An interesting bubble that surfaced in the “specifics” area is that women seem to be more concerned about privacy than security. In other words, women dislike, more than men, the idea of their password being revealed or their privacy being invaded, while men’s concerns seem to run more toward security threats, such as data theft and invasions of malicious code.
* Most participants (87%) feel that their smartphone activities can be tracked, either by their carrier or intruders, however only a little over half of our sample reported knowing how to set permissions for location tracking, and only 38 percent know how to turn off the geo-tagging setting on their phone.
* The most persistent concern across our sample was that of loss or theft of the owner’s smartphone, and compromise of the data it contains.
* Nine out of ten of our interviewees have downloaded apps onto their smartphones – of course! Everyone does that. But, only 60 percent were aware that when downloading apps could be providing access to private information stored on their phones.
The upshot of our survey? Education is vital! Approximately 118 million smartphones were sold during the third quarter of last year alone, and those numbers have increased tremendously since then! When a wave of this magnitude occurs in our global society, the importance of education becomes a stark reality.
NCSA is making heroic efforts over these next few weeks to offer every opportunity for education about online safety and privacy. Worldwide Data Privacy Day events are planned for weeks to come. NCSA has made educational materials, ideas and suggestions available on their website for parents, instructors, students and the general public. We at NQ Mobile invite everyone to heighten their awareness of mobile security, and to pass your knowledge on to others as a way to make our mobile society a safer one.
(Read our press release on results of our Consumer Survey)
Download the full 2012 Consumer Survey
As we perused the results of the 2012 Consumer Survey undertaken in collaboration with the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), some very thought-provoking realities emerged about ourselves as a smartphone-owning population. Conducted among 1,158 participants by an outside research firm, the survey gathered significant information about the perspectives and attitudes toward mobile security from an adult sample of various ages, education and income.
We asked people if they’re aware of security protection for their mobile phones and pads, and what we found was more than half of those interviewed don’t really know enough about mobile security to decide whether they need it or not! This was an interesting bit of information. For the hundreds of thousands of smartphones sold in late 2011 and early this year, it’s a little astonishing to find that security information is very seldom made available to new owners. In fact, only 7 percent of our participants said they’d been offered any information at all about security when they purchased their phones. A large percentage of folks admit that they wouldn’t know where to look for a security solution, and would need some help finding it.
It seems that many smartphone owners, although aware they could use some privacy protection, have a somewhat laid-back outlook toward taking precautionary measures. It appears we’re all at least generally, perhaps vaguely, aware that there is some risk involved, but it appears many people (70%) feel their phones are already protected somehow! When our interviewers asked what types of protection these participants have on their phones, half of them were unable to specify exactly what security measures had been taken. However, a majority of folks who don’t yet have any kind of security package on their smartphones have just not addressed the issue, aren’t really concerned about it, or don’t know enough about it.
Learning to use a smartphone takes a certain amount of patience and knowledge, and it’s fun. If consumers were able to learn half as much about mobile security as they do about the wonderful features on their smartphones, we’d have far fewer incidents of mobile-related cyber crime. We certainly don’t blame the smartphone owning population for this gap in knowledge, but the glaring fact that emerged from our study is that more education about cyber security needs to be circulated freely and abundantly. The mobile industry, as well as parents, teachers and employers, needs to pick up the pace in educating the public about how to be savvy mobile users, and how to avoid becoming a target for criminals.
We at NQ Mobile are proud to be a sponsor of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA), an organization whose primary purpose is to inform and educate the public about how to stay safe online. As we approach Data Privacy Day this week (January 28, 2012), let’s take a few moments to think about how we can help raise awareness of mobile security in someone we know. A good start would be investigating the best mobile protection, and going online at NCSA. The site offers information, teaching materials and a list of events designed to support teachers, parents and leaders in spreading the word about mobile security mindfulness.
Be sure to read our press release about the NQ Mobile 2012 Consumer Survey.
As predicted by mobile research firms in 2010, the year 2011 brought a profound increase in sales of smartphones, tablets and pads, as well as a significantly rising rate of malware incidents. It’s worth taking a moment to glance at the sales trends, morphing products, and the concurrent fraudulent behaviors that persist in the malware industry.
2011 Products: While we watched Symbian purchases decline in 2011, sales of Android based phones simply skyrocketed. The Blackberry took a notable dive in the third quarter, and, on the heels of that, Google reported it was activating 550,000 Android smartphones every single day. By the end of last year, it seemed that mobile pad devices and feature-rich smartphones could have ranked as the number-one holiday gifts of the year, based on the sharp upsurge in December sales.
2011 Malware: Not surprisingly, the occurrences of mobile malware increased in 2011, and actually doubled between the months of July and December! Trojans, spyware, brand repackaging, and premium calling scams became more widespread in 2011 as they reached the shores of countries still in their mobile infancy.
By the last quarter of 2011, hackers had figured out how to crack into QR codes, the uniquely designed symbols that let mobile users get a quick peek into a company’s sales or special announcements. Widespread political unrest led to new developments in mobile hacking that came on strong in 2011. High-level, targeted phishing and hacking into the systems of government agencies and large corporations gave rise to the term “hactivism.”
2012 Products: Today’s news is that Android activations, now outpacing human births, are currently calculated to be an astonishing 700,000 per day! It’s hard to imagine, at that rate, how much longer we will need or use telephone landlines.
Wireless tablets and pad sales also continue to grow steadily. If this year’s CES in Las Vegas this month was any indicator, wireless innovation is going to grow even more dominant as a means of telecommunication. Smartphones are smarter than ever before, and it looks as though LTE 4G will become mainstream.
When it comes to smartphones, a consumer preference for larger screens has emerged, and plain old feature phones are so last year! We’re seeing improved wireless components and add-ons, such as credit card swipers and readers. It’s likely that other snap-on, plug-in components will surface before all their features ultimately become incorporated into one device, but even that’s probably just a matter of time.
The wireless pad and face-to-face calling could very well be the way of the future. In addition, with their convenience, light weight, mobility and power, wireless pad devices may also begin to replace laptop and desktop computers at home and in the workplace. The year 2012 also inherited the ongoing discussion of whether workers will bring and use their own mobile devices on the job without compromising company security. The discussion continues this year, with companies and employees hammering out ways to find middle ground on the issue.
Malware 2012: So, where do things stand this year with mobile malware? The hugely popular Android open platform was predicted in 2011 to take first place for malware infections, and, in fact, it’s turning out to be true.
Scareware, a term for fraudulent security products, continues to gain recognition this year. SMS premium call scams are more popular than ever with cybercriminals. The botnet, which has not yet become effective, is expected to emerge in the field this year. SMS premium message scamming continues to be reported and is unabated by any regulation on the part of carriers.
Government agencies and large corporations can no longer assume they’re invulnerable to attacks. While a refreshed awareness of the possibilities have motivated agencies and corporations to strengthen their security systems, it’s not clear whether they can do enough, fast enough, to prevent the problem in the future.
The year 2012 needs to be the year of education about mobile fraud and how to prevent it. While mobile security companies are working extra hard to be ready to combat the next wave of malware, the masses of activated smartphones represent a goldmine of opportunities for cybercriminals. Experts don’t feel we’ll see very many new configurations of malware, but they do expect a higher level of sophistication in the scams already in play. It’s more essential than ever that consumers be informed of the risks, and educated about how to protect themselves.
Predictions for malware in 2012 are not promising, but organizations, such as NCSA, supported by leaders in the mobile industry, are making concerted efforts to educate adults, students and businesses about mobile protection and solutions.
Sponsors and partners of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) want consumers to be safe and smart about protecting their online privacy, and have designated January 28, 2012 as National Data Privacy Day. NQ Mobile is proud to join the high-profile partners of this consumer awareness day, which include Intel, eBay Inc. Microsoft, Intuit and Comcast.
Data Privacy Day is an annual international celebration designed to promote awareness about privacy and education about best privacy practices. Events are planned around the world for the end of January through the beginning of February.
To help spread awareness of the privacy risks associated with smartphones, NQ Mobile will share important insights on January 25 (check our blog!) about data privacy gained from its recent survey of American consumers and extensive research on mobile threats. “At NQ Mobile, our core mission is to help consumers understand the importance of protecting their private data stored on mobile smartphones,” said Dr. Henry Lin, the company’s founder, co-CEO and chairman. “The products we make play a critical part, but nothing is more vital than what users themselves can do to ensure that their private data remains safe and secure. We look forward to helping educate consumers on how to protect their personal and financial information as part of Data Privacy Day.”
Data Privacy Day began in Europe in 2007 and continues to be celebrated in more than 30 countries as Data Protection Day. The United States and Canada joined the celebration in 2008. Since 2009, the U.S. Senate has recognized January 28th as National Data Privacy Day in the United States. In 2009, the National Association of Attorneys General recognized Data Privacy Day, and numerous state governors recognize Data Privacy Day annually. Over the past four years, Data Privacy Day has grown significantly and has been celebrated by at least one entity in the following areas: India, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Australia, the Philippines, and Hong Kong. For more information about Data Privacy Day 2012, visit: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/momentum-growing-for-data-privacy-day-2012-136730993.html.
Sponsors of the National Cyber Security Alliance (NCSA) want consumers to be safe and smart about protecting their online privacy, and have designated tomorrow, January 28, 2012 as National Data Privacy Day. In addition to NQ Mobile, high-profile supporters of the designated day for online awareness include Intel, eBay Inc. Microsoft, Intuit and Comcast. New corporations and organizations continue to sign up in support of NCSA, and in recognition of the need for a more broadly educated public.
Data Privacy Day was established in 2008, and is recognized throughout United States, Canada, Council of Europe member countries, and other countries around the world. Members of the National Cyber Security Alliance have unveiled a website, designed to inform educators, parents and citizens about their right to online privacy, as well as address our social obligation to promote the idea of individual control over our private data. The site contains teaching materials for all grade levels, as well as help for businesses, and free videos sponsored by NCSA. Blogs, a resource library, and a page devoted to parents make the site a comprehensive tool for anyone who wants to educate themselves, or others, on the issues surrounding online security.
In anticipation of this specially designated day, events are planned around the world for the end of January through the beginning of February. NCSA will sponsor a forum at George Washington University Law School in Washington DC on January 26, focusing on how privacy and security intersect. Microsoft will host an event on January 24 in San Jose to explore “The Collection of Online Consumer Data: The Good, the Bad and the Unknown.” Other events will continue to be posted at the NCSA website. Events are designed to provide a forum for leaders in the realm of online privacy to discuss and resolve some of the issues that plague individual users and businesses as we become an increasingly online society.
This week consumers will see expanded coverage of the subject, since NCSA’s objective is to raise public awareness, as well as help adults take responsibility for shoring up the gaps in our knowledge of online privacy and security. Everyone who goes online via any device needs be aware of the risks and precautionary measures available when it comes to data breaches, theft, the spread of malicious viruses and invasion of privacy.
NCSA’s efforts go a long way toward providing sorely needed education to the public as our online society develops.