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January 14, 2013

Cybersecurity, Protecting Consumers from Cyberthreats Highlight CTIA's January World of Wireless Webcast

The January edition of CTIA’s monthly webcast, World of Wireless, addressed several issues relating to cybersecurity and how companies and individuals can better protect themselves from cyberthreats when using their mobile devices.

In the Policy Point segment, John Marinho, vice president of technology and cyberscurity for CTIA, summarized the structure and relationships between consumers and the wireless device industry. Since the industry consists of so many entities, such as manufacturers, app developers and service providers, there is no catch-all solution to cybersecurity. He also acknowledged that as the industry evolves, so too do the threats to its users.

Marinho went on to introduce literature that gives an 11-point list of things consumers can do to better protect themselves, including not clicking on a link that you are not familiar with, not “jailbreaking” your phone and setting up a password or PIN on your phone.

For the Wireless at Work segment,CTIA replayed content from a MobilCON 2011 keynote speech by Major General, Robert Wheeler, United States Air Force, Deputy CIO for C4 and Information Infrastructure Capabilities, Department of Defense.

Wheeler emphasized his concerns about the speed at which technology changes and how DoD struggles to keep up with it in enterprise solutions, mobility and cybersecurity. Agility of these environments to quickly keep up with change is critical to protecting information from cyberattacks.

John Walls sat down with Symantec’s CTO, Stephen Trilling, and discussed the security issues that corporations and employees face as it relates to using personal wireless devices to access corporate networks. Corporations lean toward a more micro-managing policy that limits what employees can download on their personal phones out of fears it could harm company networks. From an employee’s perspective, they lean toward less controlling policies because they feel what they do with their phones on their own time should not be under corporate jurisdiction, and if the phone becomes too cumbersome to use, they won’t follow corporate policy.

The solution, according to Trilling, is not to find a happy medium somewhere in between, but to satisfy both sides as much as possible. A company policy should be restrictive enough that you need a password to look at the financial reports, but not so restrictive that you need one to take a picture of your kid.

Dr. Ashok Agrawla talked about a virtual escort app that students at the University of Maryland can use for personal safety. Students install the application on the phone and use it when they have concerns about safety, such as leaving the library late at night. A dispatcher tracks the phone by GPS and if needed, can assign the closest officer, also tracked by GPS, if police are called.

Audio and video from the phone are also monitored by the dispatcher.

Instead of having a police officer escort you to your car or dorm, the app uses technology to provide a virtual escort.

Anyone who missed the podcast can go here to find links to video content from the webcast. There is no single link you click to get the podcast; each segment has its own link. 

Edited by Braden Becker

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