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What Risks Do Smartphones Pose To Networks

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					What Risks Do Smartphones Pose To
Networks?

The chances are, like many other people, you will own a smartphone. The popularity of the these phones has

increased exponentially over the past few years, and as a result more and more people are able to access the

Internet via existing networks. However, despite such popularity some smartphones, and in particular those using the

Android operating system, have come under increasing scrutiny because of security flaws.


As a result, there are a few risks that you should be aware of concerning these types of phones and the networks

they use or connect to. In effect, these types of phones are mini-computers, they still have processors and hard

drives, and you can still download software and applications as you please. So, just like with computers, there are still

risks when it comes to networks. The following then is a list of the risks you should be aware of:


Downloading Harmful Software


Just like a desktop computer or laptop, your smartphone can still download software that isn't only harmful to your

phone, but also the network you're connected to. These phones usually come with large storage capacities allowing

you to download different software and applications. However, the more you download, the greater the risk that you'll

install an application that is harmful or has security flaws. The best advice is to always ensure you read reviews of the

application, as well as installing some form of antivirus checker. Also, only download applications that you're actually

going to use, and always perform regular data backups.


Rooting Your Phone


When you purchase a smartphone, you have certain restrictions applied. For example, you'll only be allowed to

download and install apps from certain marketplaces that have been preapproved by the manufacturer. You'll also

have restricted access to your operating system, preventing you from tampering with it, or changing it. However,

some users perform what's known as 'rooting' or 'jail-breaking'. This process gets around these issues, so you can

have full control and access to your device. If you do, you pose a much greater risk to your network because your

apps will have root access and you could also expose sensitive and personal data onto your network.


Rogue Applications
A recent story has shown the dangers and risks of downloading applications, and how they can harm your network. A

University recently realised there was a device on their network which was scanning external IP addresses found on

that specific network. This isn't uncommon, and it's usually a case of what's known as a 'Zombie PC'. However, in this

instance, it was actually a smartphone that was connected to their wireless network and a rogue application was

scanning the network, unbeknownst to the owner.


Connections


With older phones it used to be a case of connecting to your PC with a specific cable, and from here you could

backup files and your phone book, just in case anything happened to your phone. However with smartphones, you

can now upload, share and connect to other devices, including PCs thanks to WiFi, Bluetooth as well as USB

tethering. Whilst this is excellent for the user, for those monitoring networks, it means greater exposure, and a greater

risk of harmful activity.


Data Exposure


Thanks to file shares on networks, you could extract lots of data from your phone. These new smartphones come

with a huge amount of storage, and through everyday use, you'll have a multitude of files that can easily be shared if

you're not careful. Leaking or exposing such data will put you and your network at risk.


What To Do?


For anyone that is concerned about the risks Smartphones pose to networks, there are a number of solutions. Firstly,

you can make sure that anyone trying to connect to your network identifies themselves, and once they're on, you

should be monitoring their activity with network monitoring software.

				
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Description: The chances are, like many other people, you will own a smartphone. The popularity of the these phones has increased exponentially over the past few years, and as a result more and more people are able to access the Internet via existing networks. However, despite such popularity some smartphones, and in particular those using the Android operating system, have come under increasing scrutiny because of security flaws.
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