Whoever coined the phrase, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” wasnt talking about mobile computing.
Despite the increased flexibility and productivity mobile computing offers to traveling insurance executives and work-from-the-road agents, laptops and remote network access can cause information security risks for mobile workers if proper measures arent taken.
Since the number of mobile devices with network access has increased precipitously, companies must confront the security threats to which these devices can be exposed.
Most people understand the need for physically protecting a laptop or other mobile device, and they take precautions to ensure safety with locks, cables or common sense. However, digital dangers are lurking, which can create just as much trouble.
Picture this: One of the people in your office is working remotely on his laptop and downloads and opens a virus-infected e-mail attachment. The employee views the message, but now a computer worm has wiggled its way onto his machine without him knowing.
After that, the person either connects to the enterprise network with the laptop or brings the laptop into the office the next day, behind the enterprise firewall. The company has been exposed to a security risk as the result of a laptop user not being protected.
Todays computer viruses and worms can do everything from display an annoying animation to destroy or steal important files. There are several ways these threats can end up on a computer, and it is critical to protect against them.
Most people are aware of the risks, but virus writers can be pretty clever. Many of todays virus threats come disguised as an “official” looking e-mail or other file attachment that unleashes a malicious program when opened.
Many computer users take precautions, such as not opening an attachment that wasnt expected or simply deleting e-mails from unknown parties. However, many laptop and desktop computer users arent aware that instant messaging applications like Yahoo Messenger, AOL Messenger and similar programs can also be a threat. Although these tools are great for instant real-time communication from a laptop, virus-infected files can be transmitted through these programs, bypassing virus-scanning software on an e-mail server.