Be careful with your smartphone

I love my iOS device and find it very handy.

More and more tech professionals I know are carrying smartphones. There seems to be a split among technical people between iOS, Android, or WP7 platforms, but it seems that all the mobile OSes are extremely handy for system administrators. I know that I appreciate the ability to connect to email and other people when I’m away from my desk. If I were a production DBA, the ability to potentially fix something remotely, without the need to go to the office or back home, would be extremely valuable.

However, carrying around a smartphone isn’t without a risk. The features and capabilities of the various mobile operating systems are a double edged sword. The power of the smartphone can easily be used for attacks against your network. This piece talks about hackers targeting the mobile platforms as another attack vector. That’s scary, especially as most of these mobile OSes were not designed to be secure.

One of the very attractive parts of the Android platform is it’s openness. Anyone can build an app and sell it in the Android Marketplace. However that openness also means that the marketplace is a target for malware. While you might not like the Apple review process, it does offer some security. I’m not sure how the Windows Phone 7 platform is affected, but I would hope there is some security review. I also hope third party stores, like the Amazon Android store, will do some kind of security review to prevent malware.

Ultimately if you are a privileged user on a corporate network, and you connect from your smartphone, you need to be extra careful. Set a password on your phone, don’t save passwords to trusted systems in your mobile browser, and be especially careful about scanning your system regularly.

Steve Jones


The Voice of the DBA Podcasts

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