The privacy implications and security risks of a growing trend of mobile phones and mobile-connected devices have reached a boiling point, according to experts in the field of cyber security.
In a paper published by the Institute for Information and Communications Security (IICS), a research group in Switzerland, cybersecurity experts and cyber-defenders from all around the world were gathered to discuss how to protect data and personal information in a mobile world.
The paper, entitled Privacy in the Age of Information, provides insights into the challenges posed by the growing mobile phone market, as well as how to best manage such data and data security risks.
It highlights the importance of the use of encryption and the fact that the smartphone industry has been the biggest consumer of encryption technologies, including the iPhone and Android.
It also identifies the various security vulnerabilities that smartphones pose and suggests ways to reduce them.
“In the past five years, we have seen a massive increase in the use and use of mobile devices in all spheres of society.
The proliferation of mobile phone use has made it easy to access data that could be used to spy on people, as it has also become easier for governments to monitor the activities of mobile users,” said the report’s author, Alain Bien, an associate professor at the IICS and a member of the Cyber Security Group of the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETH).
The paper draws upon an analysis of phone use patterns conducted by the Swiss Federal Office for Information Security (AFOSS) which found that the number of smartphones in use in Switzerland has grown from just over 200 million in 2011 to over 5.5 billion in 2021.
“These figures suggest that the use for mobile devices is growing at a pace much faster than the population,” Bien said.
“This trend can be partly explained by the fact we have been able to have a significant number of people using mobile devices.
The mobile phone is becoming more and more important in everyday life, as the majority of people are using it for more than one purpose.
The increase in use of a device has led to a huge increase in security risks.”
The IICP also notes that the proliferation of smartphones, along with the rise in the number and size of data breaches, has made the use by governments and companies of encryption a big concern.
It cites examples such as a 2013 attack against the private email service Gmail which affected a quarter of a billion users, as a sign that “the smartphone is becoming an increasingly critical means of access to data”.
“A mobile phone can provide an extremely powerful tool to intercept and monitor communications.
In the age of the smartphone, this is no longer an anomaly,” said Bien.
According to the ICS, in 2021, there were about 2.4 million devices on the market in Switzerland.
These included smartphones, tablets, mobiles and personal computers.
According the study, about a third of all devices in the country are smartphones, although there are no statistics available about the actual number of mobile-device users.
“There is a real opportunity to control mobile data and privacy by adopting the best practices that protect the privacy and security of data on devices, which have become increasingly prevalent in our society,” Baudoin added.
According as the study notes, there are about 500,000 personal computers in Switzerland which are owned by companies and individuals.
In the case of the average person, this represents a staggering number of devices.
“The data collected by these devices can be sold to third parties for the purposes of advertising, marketing or surveillance,” said ICS.
In addition, there is also a significant amount of data that can be accessed by the device itself, including financial and medical information.
“It is therefore important to secure the device against access by third parties,” said Faisal Muhajer, an ICS expert.
He said that data stored on devices and the devices themselves should be treated as private and not subject to third party monitoring.
“Information about your location, health status, activity, financial status and even your preferences can be shared with third parties in the name of advertising,” said Muhijer.
“Users should also be aware that a smartphone can be used as a ‘virtual private network’ (VPN) for an extended period of time and that this can have significant consequences for their privacy,” he added.
The research also highlights the challenges that governments face in controlling the use, distribution and transfer of data, particularly information about people and information that may be harmful to them.
It points to the fact, for example, that in 2018, Switzerland was the first country in the world to ban the sale of pornography, citing concerns over the risk of cyber-attacks.
“There is also growing concern that some information about individual users may be used in ways that are not appropriate for public debate or that are detrimental to individual rights,” said Zeeshan Ahsan, a member with the IESSA.
“It is important