Tag Archives: smartphones

BYOD – becoming a thing of the past?

Two years ago, as a summer research project, I investigated BYOD policies: what are the elements of a sound BYOD policy; who has them, who doesn’t; and whether they are effective.  It was a lengthy process, and I presented my findings at a colloquium of my college in October, 2013.  Not only that, that Fall Semester, I had my Cyber Security I (Fundamentals of Information Security) craft an effective BYOD policy as part of their semester group project.

Two years ago, it seemed that BYOD was going to be the future of mobile devices in organizations, and that mobile device management policies (MDM), especially automated MDM policies from 3rd party vendors, were going to be controlling BYOD in the organization. Still, as several students pointed out in class, if companies would just “hand out” mobile devices instead of allowing BYOD, the need for managing personal devices in the workplace would slowly disappear.

According to this article from Computerworld this week, it’s starting to come to that.  In the article, Jack Gold, an analyst at J. Gold Associates, stated that:

“There certainly is a curtailment of BYOD from where everyone thought it would be a couple of years back,” Gold said. “Companies are much more cautious now, knowing that the benefits of BYOD often don’t outweigh the risks.”

For many companies, the presumed cost-savings in letting employees use their own devices just hasn’t outweighed the security and management headaches of BYOD.

Gold cited the rise of the use of cloud-based file-sharing services such as leading to the slow demise of BYOD.  If employees can save their personal docs and photos in the cloud, they don’t need to worry about losing them if the worker leaves the company and has to return the device. As a result, employees are more willing to accept the use of employer-provided devices, knowing that their personal data is elsewhere.

While BYOD has not disappeared from the workplace, it appears that, for many of the security reasons I identified two years ago, it’s in decline.  And for security-conscious organizations who want to segregate their employees’ personal lives from their work lives, that’s a good thing.

Another phone scam – watch out!

Beware of the one-ring scam

As scams go, this one is very stealthy, clever, and dangerous.  How often do we see a phone number for a missed call pop up on our smartphone, and think of calling that person back?  Well, if that person isn’t in your phone book, you had better think again.  Just calling that phone number could send you to a foreign porn site, and end up costing you a LOT of money.  The article gives some very good advice from the Better Business Bureau (BBB):

The BBB said the scam calls usually come from outside the United States, including from numbers with area codes 268, 809, 876, 284 and 473.

Now, we all know that not all of the potential contacts we have (or need) are in our smartphone’s contact list.  Maybe you are waiting for a call from a potential employer, or a potential client, and you haven’t added them into your contacts list.  But, as the article points out, you could paste that phone number into the site whocalled.us  I pasted both my smartphone’s number and my home number into that site.  While both results didn’t state who I am, they both came back with the correct registrant of my phones.

The best advice is the same advice I have for potential victims of spam, especially spam stating that your account (usually your bank account) has been compromised.  You have to ask yourself:

  • “Do I even have an account with this bank?”
  • If the answer to that question is yes, then you must ask “am I expecting such an e-mail?”  And . . . “would my bank even contact me this way?”

If you don’t know who the phone number is from, then just delete it from your phone log and your phone message box.  If the caller really is someone important that isn’t stored in your contacts list, the caller will get back with you.