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Many companies are getting ready to support bring your own device (BYOD) programs, and part of that means protecting data on lost or stolen smartphones and tablets. But there are a few other big BYOD risks organizations need to prepare for.
Lost or stolen devices, along with mobile malware, are the most common threats companies face after they start allowing employees to work with personal smartphones and tablets.
That’s why organizations typically require those devices to be equipped with features such as password protection, encryption and remote capabilities, as well as mobile antivirus software, before they’re allowed onto the network.
However, that’s not the only that sensitive data can be compromised or other problems will be caused due to employees’ personal mobile devices.
Here are the three the biggest BYOD dangers aside from mobile malware and lost or stolen devices:
1. Reckless driving
As more employees do work on mobile devices, that means more people could be tempted to take of work tasks while they’re behind the wheel.
Of course, companies their employees to stay safe, but the danger also creates serious legal and financial risks for organizations.
In 2008, a lawsuit was filed a woman was badly injured in a car accident. The driver of the other car rear-ended the woman while speeding — and talking on a company-issued cell phone.
Since the driver was on a company phone and doing work at the time of the accident, the victim sued the employer, which ended up settling for $5.2 million.
Many experts recommend companies write policies against using smartphones or other devices to do work while driving.
Of course, most adults should be aware that it’s not a good to talk on the phone, send text messages or read emails while behind the wheel, but there’s another popular smartphone function that can also be dangerous: voice recognition applications.
Many smartphones have features that let people place calls, read and send messages, and perform other tasks using voice commands. Users often take advantage of that functionality while in the car. However, doing so can also lead to more car accidents, according to a study conducted at Texas A&M University.
Researchers examined 43 participants driving on a test track under three conditions: first with no electronic devices, then while typing text messages, and finally while using Apple’s Siri voice recognition system to respond to messages.
The result: The participants’ ability to react was just as impaired while using Siri as while texting in the traditional way. In both cases, response times were twice as long as when no electronic devices were present in the car.
2. Mobile phishing
While mobile malware has gotten a lot of attention, there’s another more traditional type of security attack that’s been going mobile: phishing attacks.
In a phishing attack, cyber criminals send specially crafted emails or social media messages to potential victims, trying to get them to download a virus, click on a malicious link or reply with sensitive information. And while those types of attacks aren’t anything new, experts warn
When people use smartphones, they’re three times as likely to fall for phishing scams, according to a survey conducted by Internet security firm Trusteer.
One reason is likely that the small screen and modified website layouts can make it more difficult for users to tell the difference between legitimate sites and their phony counterparts set up to steal data.
3. Privacy lawsuits from employees
As the lines between personal and work devices become blurred, there are some legal questions that remain regarding what actions companies can take when employees use their own smartphones and tablets. For example, are companies allowed to monitor what websites employees browse on personal phones, even if that device is also used at work? If a personal phone containing work information is lost, does the company have a right to remotely wipe all of its data?
When the company owns and issues that equipment, the answers are pretty simple, But things get more complicated with BYOD programs — and some of the questions may need to be answered by court cases.
In the meantime, companies can do a lot to protect themselves by clearly outline what steps the company may take regarding someone’s personal device and have all employees sign on off on the policy before they participate in the BYOD program. That way, employees will understand the risks involved and won’t be surprised by anything down the road.
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