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Your Mobile is Not Just a Phone — It's a Handheld Mini-Computer Subject to Attack

October 11, 2018
Cyber Alert

Download a PDF of the Alert

Risk Management Question: We need to stop treating our mobile phones like they're just phones. They are mini-computers more powerful than the computers that guided the Apollo 11 spacecraft to the moon and back. What common sense steps can lawyers take to protect sensitive and confidential personal and client information accessible on, and sent from, mobile phones, and meet the ethical duty to safeguard client information?

The Issue: Our mobile phones have become an extension of us—they provide ready access to information about where we are supposed to be and when (including directions), and offer 24/7 contact with friends, family and work. Their size, portability, functionality and ubiquitous availability have resulted in our underestimating how vulnerable they are to hacking and social engineering exploits. To protect our own personal information and confidential client information, we need to adjust our mindset and treat our phones like the computers that they are.

Risk Management Solution: A recent infographic from KnowBe4.com—"20 Ways to Block Mobile Attacks"—outlines, as the title suggests, steps that can protect mobile phones from hacking and fraudulent schemes. It is well worth reading and is accessible at: https://www.knowbe4.com/hubfs/20WaysToStopMobileAttacks.pdf.

Some of the suggestions will be familiar to desktop and laptop users:

Other measures may be less familiar:

The bottom line is that lawyers should be more conscientious in protecting sensitive information on mobile phones in order to ensure compliance with ethical duties to clients.

Even if you're just using your phone, remember to be careful out there.