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Mobile Platforms: Safe or Risky?

Traenk is tired of anti-mobile rhetoric, noting that risks come with all computing formats.

Countless articles, nameless bloggers, several laptop vendors, and yes, a few IT Theorists all assure me that mobile device security trumps the loss of collective bargaining, the rising petrol prices, and the Threatened Apocalypse-Inducing Alignment of our Galaxy with the Dark Rift as the Universe's Top Risk, thus, causing the fall of Global Society.

Can you spell hyperbolly?  (Seriously, can you?  I can't it seems.)

Lest you think that I'm too flippant, consider these items:

  • Laptops, netbooks, and 'Transportables' (Remember those?  Cinderblocks in disguise...) have been leaving the sanctity of our homes and offices for decades.  What's your definition of mobile?
  • Briefcases, 'portable typewriters', and work scrolls have been prowling the roads of Rome and post-war America for centuries.  (But the electronic phone is my real Worry?  Really???  Can you encrypt those paper business proposals as cheaply as that done with electronic devices?)
  • Browsers have had password caching agents for some time, with a pooooooor history of hacks; but it is the infrequent iPad, iTouch, iPhone, and iBelieve password cache failures that are most troubling?  Wow!  Where've I been???
  • All those 'Sophisticated & Secure' features on more advanced platforms continue to go unused in too many households.
I don't struggle against risks caused by the 'Novel Technology of the Month' club.  I struggle with unwise sharing in all its forms.  I struggle with Age of Aquarius security tools getting undercut by simplistic passwords patterned after pet names, professional sport team names (hence the lack of the string 'Cubs' in any password), and plain ol' 'I-Hate-Security-Standards' choices like 'abc123' or 'passwurd'.  It's great to have an encryption system, but if that system allows lots of guesses of simplistic passwords, what security do you really have?

I have a mobile device that will wipe itself back to stock if I input the initial password wrongly X times.  I've yet to see that in a typical laptop.  Meanwhile, that device sits on a shelf because it can't do what I need it to do.
  1. Yes, I am aware that mobile devices are often lost or stolen.
  2. Yes, I am aware that encryption options for Android, one massively popular platform, are pretty slim.
Are you aware that many managers are skipping important messages that can't be viewed on a postage stamp-sized screen, one that often needs side-to-side maneuvering once reserved only for refolding Picnic table-sized travel maps back to their pack-of-playing cards size???  They are also compelled to use simple passwords because character input on many touchscreens is the rough equivalent of printing a file in old-age WordPerfect (or playing a round of Twister with professional contortionists)?

No, there are risks with computer use.  There are risks with computer application use.  The pooling of information and the speeds of computing decisions make all computers and online systems risky.  The real battle isn't against any one platform; it is against long-time unsafe security choices.  My phone has gigabytes of precious 1970's music.  I have it backed up.  There is NO risk that I cannot Boogie Oogie Oogie 'Till I Just Can't Boogie No More.  My grocery lists?  Nah, keep tryin'.


jt

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