On vacation or a business trip, whatever the nature and purpose of your journey, a smartphone is an indispensable companion. It can help you every step of the way – from planning your transport to the airport, through checking the weather, to sending e-mails and browsing company documents. But to use all these apps you need an Internet connection. Luckily, it is getting easier to find free Wi-Fi network. Public hotspots are available at airports, railway stations, and even on trains and buses. However, when you connect to a public network, you need to be careful not to fall victim of cyber-criminals.
Take a simple example. You are going to Asia, where you are going to negotiate a contract with a prospective business partner. A big deal and big responsibility. Let’s say that you go to an airport café while waiting for your flight. You connect to a public Wi-Fi network to check your e-mail and make a transfer. All of a sudden, when you try to pay for your coffee, it turns out your bank account is empty. You get phone calls from resentful clients who got an e-mail with a call for payment for an invoice they have already paid. As it later turns out, the back account number is incorrect. How many of them got tricked?
Of course, this is an extreme example of the consequences of such risky connection. Still, in the digitalised world, it seems that there is danger everywhere – malware, phishing, or attacks such as ‘the man in the middle’ (intercepting information). The risk is too high to leave it to fate. Adventures are great but only those which have a happy ending.
Luckily, you can now protect yourself from such situations. Basically, you need to be careful and secure your device, e.g. with a mobile VPN. Another interesting solution is BlackBerry author software – DTEK. This app verifies whether any of the apps installed on the phone tries to obtain additional consent or steal any data from your phone. It is a particularly useful tool in such doubtful situations as the safety of the recently popular face ageing app. There are plenty of such surprises in app stores. DTEK allows you to control the access of software to your data and monitor the security level on an ongoing basis.
New technologies and growing globalisation open up foreign markets for entrepreneurs. More and more often, our office is where our company computer and phone are. Running your business from across the world is not a problem when, for example, a phone camera serves as a scanner. Photos of documents are not only legible, also on the smartphone screen, but encrypted, too. Moreover, Privacy Shade app available in BlackBerry phones protects your confidential information from bystanders, such as fellow passengers on the train. In crowded places, you can shade your screen, leaving only a part of it visible and thus limiting the page preview. As a result, a person looking over your shoulder cannot read the sensitive data you are browsing at a given time.
Using mobile devices in public space always involves certain risk, regardless of latitude. Be it in a European capital or in Asia, when you use unsecured Wi-Fi networks and, in particular, log in to banking apps or e-mail, you risk data leakage or even losing control over the device. It would not be the perfect travel souvenir.