Computers, phones and security

In recent weeks Apple has gained some poor media attention thanks to a major flaw in the iPhone’s operating system. This vulnerability meant that someone could access data from your phone if you were on an open network, like a free wifi network at your favourite coffee shop.

The good news is that Apple has made a security update for their iOS and OSX operating systems. If you own an apple device and have updated it then you’re safe… well mostly.

Remember those ads comparing Macs and PCs telling us how safe and secure an Apple computers were? PCs on the other hand were like teenagers in the throes of puberty’s hormonal roller coaster. They were so insecure and vulnerable to malware, spyware and viruses that it became one of the main reasons people switched from Windows to Mac. You’ll still hear people today say how safe and secure Apple’s computers are.

Did you ever wonder why PCs running Windows were so insecure? Popularity plays a major role and is a large contributor to Apple’s new insecurities. Apple devices are far more popular than PCs running Windows. This means that they are the largest opportunity for attackers to harm your computer and still your personal data. With technology rapidly changing and malicious software changing more rapidly our data is certainly at risk, regardless of what you use. Well, unless you use Linux and use it well.

I’m not going to give you a list of steps and software to keep you safe, just use Google for that. What I’m challenging you to do is change how you think about computing and using your phone.

With countless apps and software options one of the words you’ll hear consistently in marketing technology is – convenience. Every app developer and programmer wants to make our lives “easier” and convenient. They want to integrate digital technology into our lives with so much convenience that we don’t need to notice how the apps are working or do any of the actual work. Less steps to checking your email equals progress technological advancement, right?

Google is a great example of pushing convenience on users, especially when it comes to Chrome. This browser is designed to let you work seamlessly across all of your devices. You sign into the browser and all of your bookmarks, history and saved forms are synced via the cloud and accessible with your login details. You can keep multiple email accounts connected, save passwords and do everything in the cloud. If you keep the “remember me” box checked at login you never need to remember your password because that’s taken care of.

Think of it this way, companies like Google are essentially encouraging you to leave your most sensitive data in their hands. This includes banking information and geographical locations that can pinpoint your child’s bedroom. All of this is done to add convenience to your life. Google runs on ad money and your data contributes to effective advertising. All the while we just accept these terms and conditions without blinking, let alone considering the consequences.

Admittedly, having information accessible via the cloud does have its place. For instance, people can collaborate on projects together or businesses and governments can take transparency to a whole new level. But the thing is they may do this because they’ve thought about it.

We need to be aware and think carefully about how we use technology like smartphone apps and internet browsers. It may be convenient to sync your banking information with an app like Mint but if someone accesses your device with malware you could loose your savings or have your identity stolen. Weigh these two things against each other. Security versus convenience.

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