Twenty-five days until the Olympics - don't let your mobile become a public hotspot

News by Dan Raywood

An expectation to be able to connect to the internet at all times could leave London tourists facing a hurdle.

An expectation to be able to connect to the internet at all times could leave London tourists facing a hurdle.

Speaking to SC Magazine, Carla Fitzgerald, vice president of marketing for wireless and mobility at Smith Micro, said that smartphone users expect to be able to connect seamlessly and securely, regardless of device or network.

She said that to bypass this problem, users may use their phones and devices as WiFi hotspots, potentially exposing them to other issues.

Fitzgerald said: “We found that 71 per cent of people could not change their password on a hotspot, and they did not know how many people are connected to their personal hotspot either. More than 50 per cent could not lock it down.

“Our experience of connecting devices as a hotspot is all you have to do is be protected and educate users on how to lock their devices down. Until people get their bill, they never knew what happened.

“The phone has not been developed for the IT administrator, it will allow access to a limit (for time or data) but if you do not know, then anyone can connect. There is no warning on roaming.”

The survey found that using an HTC smartphone, within two minutes only four per cent were not able to check how many people were connected to it, yet 71 per cent could not change the password required to connect to the mobile hotspot.

In terms of disconnecting the device from the network so nobody else is able to log on to the device, 21 per cent failed to do this.

Using a MiFi 2200 mobile hotspot, none of the people surveyed were able to see how many people were connected, 88 per cent could not change the password and 79 per cent were unable to disconnect the device from the network so nobody else was able to log on to the device.

As discussed by Chris Russell, VP of technology at Swivel, recently, the London Olympics could be a social media–fest ‘on an industrial scale', and it was appropriate for those responsible for corporate security to remind their users of the risks posed whenever they are accessing their business applications.

He said: “With most evidence pointing to the fact that given the choice, people are prone to using the same password for all their online activity – for both business and personal – the security ramifications for companies and individuals cannot be overestimated.

AdaptiveMobile previously told SC Magazine about the dangers of downloading data, saying that when users download updates via 3G dongles they could face huge bills. They said that even 50MB of data transferred could account for £25-30.

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