[telecom] Bolstering a Phone's Defenses Against Breaches

Bolstering a Phone's Defenses Against Breaches

By NICOLE PERLROTH October 13, 2013

SAN FRANCISCO - From Lookout's headquarters here, the view extends west from the Bay Bridge to the Golden Gate, but its employees - mostly 20-something engineers in T-shirts and jeans - seem too preoccupied with the world's nastiest new threats to take it in.

Lookout's employees are busy tracking the cybercriminals and aggressive advertisers that target the 45 million people around the globe who have downloaded the company's free mobile security app. That is Step 1 to a more lucrative goal: protecting the data of big, corporate customers that are allowing employees to use their own mobile devices on corporate networks.

The so-called bring your own device, or B.Y.O.D., trend can lead to trouble. Last year, for example, Jackson North Medical Center in North Miami Beach, Fla., banned personal smartphones after a volunteer used his phone's camera to take about 1,100 photos of patient records, including their Social Security numbers, and sold them.

Such episodes are not that unusual. Almost half of companies that allow personally owned devices to connect to the corporate network have experienced a data breach, either because of unwitting mistakes by employees or - as was the case at the Florida hospital - intentional wrongdoing, according to a 2012 survey of 400 technology professionals by researchers at Decisive Analytics.


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