Many IT pros store compromising material on their mobile phones

It appears that Jennifer Lawrence is not the only one with risqué photos on her mobile device. According to a new survey from ESET, 39 percent of the UK’s leading IT professionals have also confessed that if they were to lose their phone, some of the photos and information they have stored on the device could compromise them.

The survey, which was carried out at IPEXPO and studied the attitudes of 500 IT professionals, also revealed that 46 percent of respondents admitted that if they were to lose their phone with work information on it, and it was subsequently hacked, it could jeopardize or compromise their company.

In addition to this, a worrying 15 percent of respondents said they are not confident that the photos they take on their phone are not being streamed to other members of their family.

Commenting on the study findings, Mark James, security specialist at ESET, said: “The recent news around celebrity phones being hacked and their images being stolen and posted online should act as a warning. Mobile phones are a very attractive target for cybercriminals as they hold so much information. Imagine finding yourself in the same position as Jennifer Lawrence. I suspect most people would feel completely humiliated. My advice to mobile phone users is to be very cautious with what content you have stored on your device. If you have something on your phone which, if fallen into the wrong hands could compromise you either personally or professionally, delete it, or make sure security on the device is a priority, not an afterthought.”

Other concerning findings from the study revealed that despite most respondents admitting to storing compromising data on their mobile, 22 percent do not have a facility to remote wipe their device.

“A remote wipe facility is really your only piece of insurance against a lost phone, and I am surprised more people have not adopted the facility. It essentially means that if you lose your mobile phone you could log into a PC and remotely delete all the data stored on the device. This means that anyone who finds the phone will not be able to access any of your personal information. If you choose to store data on your phone which has the potential to compromise you if it ended up in the wrong hands I would strongly advise you deploy a security solution which offers a remote wipe facility,” continued James.

Other findings from the study revealed that despite the huge publicity the hacked photos of Jennifer Lawrence and other celebrities received, only 12 percent of respondents revealed that they had seen the photographs and that they were passed around their office.

In order to help protect data on mobile devices, ESET recommends the following steps:

  • Use a password on your phone at all times
  • Restrict how long you keep emails for on your phone – don’t store things unnecessarily for more than a couple of days
  • Restrict the amount of information you keep on your phone
  • Delete any photos you don’t need and download them frequently to your own computer, where you can store them safely
  • Be mindful of where you are streaming your photos
  • Make sure you do back-ups frequently and check that they are actually being backed up and working
  • Try wherever possible to have remote lock and remote wipe available for your mobile phone. Lock the device if it’s lost, then wipe it if needed. Always bear in mind it’s unlikely you will get your phone back after it’s lost.

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