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Researchers warn of mobile geolocation dangers

ISACA stresses the need to protect mobile data from the increasing security threats posed by location-based apps.

mobile phone security

With smartphone application usage growing phenomenally, users need to pay even closer attention to mobile security, the ISACA has warned.

Half of mobile users access location-based apps such as Facebook, Groupon and Google Maps while on the move. But, while such apps offer many benefits, they also pose many safety and security risks, both to individuals, their property and their data.

Personal information about job or gender, combined with GPS data could give the bad guys just what they need in order to identify where that user is and take advantage accordingly.

It's not just is privacy at risk: enterprise reputation and competitive advantage is at stake too.

As such users should be careful about what they're sharing in order to protect themselves and the information they're providing over the mobile network, the security body advised.

ISACA tips

Ensure tech safeguards are implemented, making most of frameworks such as COBIT to aid policy development.

Keep operating systems updated to ensure latest security patches are applied.

Classify data so that certain information is unreadable or inaccessible.

Create a device management programme to ensure users can only connect in certain places/under certain circumstances.

Ensure geolocation services are only used where they add business value and the risks have been assessed, rather than across the board.

"As the number of geolocation users grows and the proliferation of mobile devices continues, the prospect of individual or enterprise information becoming available to hackers or other unauthorised users is a significant concern," said Marios Damianides, past international president of ISACA and partner at Ernst & Young.

"We need policies that will establish privacy by design' to instill trust across the enterprise and guard against malicious use of location information."

The ISACA reported that in the US regulators are focusing on rules regarding how companies can use geolocation data. In Europe, however, the focus is much more on existing data collection regulations.

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