Is Smart­phone Ad­dic­tion A Se­cu­rity Risk Apart From Posing Health Haz­ards?

Distinguished Magazine - - INNOVATION - ANJALI PRASAD SHARMA

Apart from the fact that the de­vice is posing im­mense risks to our health, there is an­other as­pect that needs to be brought forth and that is cy­ber­se­cu­rity. Haven’t we all heard it all be­fore – our un­healthy ob­ses­sion with our smart­phones as also our com­plete de­pen­dence and in­abil­ity to put them down for over 3 min­utes at a stretch? Stud­ies and re­search show that the fear has been im­mac­u­lately le­git­imized given the fact that an in­di­vid­ual spends al­most 5 hours each day on her/his gad­get. Apart from the fact that the de­vice is posing im­mense risks to our health, there is an­other as­pect that needs to be brought forth and that is cy­ber­se­cu­rity.

Our col­lec­tive smart­phone ad­dic­tion has of­fered op­por­tu­ni­ties for cy­ber­crim­i­nals on a sil­ver plat­ter. There are loads of us who aren’t ex­actly the most savvy when it comes to us­ing our smart­phones even when they have be­come an es­sen­tial and un­put­down­able part of our lives.

Smart­phones sen­sors are in most prob­a­bil­ity al­ways by our sides through­out our wak­ing hours and some­times even when we are asleep. As part of our hand­bags, knap­sacks, din­ner ta­bles or man­tles, smart­phones are usu­ally never switched off, even when not in use. And th­ese very sen­sors have man­aged to find their ways into each cor­ner of our daily lives. The data present in the phones present a clear dan­ger where pri­vacy is con­cerned. Google Play store has re­moved up to 20 apps from An­droid phones and its app store. Th­ese apps were mis­us­ing their ac­cess to the afore­men­tioned sen­sors. Some apps go be­yond record­ing con­ver­sa­tions, they can iden­tify the phone’s lo­ca­tion, and pull out data, all with­out the user hav­ing an inkling about the same.

Imag­ine some­one with ac­cess to our bank ac­counts, our pref­er­en­tial shop­ping sites, and the knowl­edge of where we are at all given times. Treated as just an­other simple de­vice de­signed to make our lives more con­ve­nient, we for­get the ad­vanced tech­nolo­gies this small ma­chine har­nesses. And this is what the hack­ers make the most of. From in­ces­santly in­no­vat­ing more so­phis­ti­cated hack­ing means and meth­ods, there are app cre­ators, phish­ing, iden­tity thefts, data breach and much more.

At McAfee, three or more new cases of mal­ware are tack­led each day. And mo­bile mal­ware has the high­est share at 42 per­cent year on year. While it took up to 22 years for PC mal­ware to come up with around two mil­lion samples, it has taken mo­bile less than half of that time.

An ex­am­ple and a case in point could be speech-to-text translatio­n. To cater to this, the phone would re­quire sound fre­quen­cies and a string of spe­cific words fol­low­ing one an­other in an ar­tic­u­late sen­tence. Th­ese very sound fre­quen­cies could also lend it­self to help­ing a hacker with a ready app that could help iden­tify a speaker’s iden­tity.

All said and done, not only does the smart­phone im­pact our health at phys­i­cal, as well as emo­tional lev­els but also the im­pli­ca­tions of care­less smart­phone us­age are ex­tremely far reach­ing and se­vere. We need to delve into this mat­ter a bit more se­ri­ously than we are tak­ing it cur­rently. Each one of us that hasn’t em­ployed se­cu­rity mea­sures on their smart­phones is fund­ing crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity.

We need to put down our cell phones and dis­con­nect to con­nect with our near and dear ones. As for the time we pick them up, we have to be dou­bly sure that they are prop­erly pro­tected. This will not just be good for our men­tal health but also help stop the hack­ers right where they are!

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