x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Phones: mobile and dangerous

They may be convenient, but smartphones can also spill your secrets.

The evolution of the mobile phone, from novelty in the 1980s to a must-have communications device today – has been extraordinary. And, for the most part, mobiles have been agents of good, keeping friends and families connected and simplifying the way we do business. Most of us could not imagine life without one.

However, mobile phones are increasingly becoming the tools of criminals. As The National reported this week, a sideline seminar at the Intersec security and safety exhibition in Dubai was told that mobile phone-related crime is on the rise in the UAE. It ranges from “SimBoxes” that illegally bypass telecoms providers to blackmailers threatening to release personal images hacked from phones.

In an increasingly connected world – your smartphone can now “talk” to your television, your car and even your refrigerator – we all need to be wary about who can access our data. An open app on a stolen phone could provide a backdoor way for somebody to steal your personal details, effectively hijacking your identity, or access your bank account.

Something we once regarded as a toy or an ornament poses a greater threat to our security and safety than we could ever have imagined.