Free Wi-fi users warned
The Star (8 April 2012)
PETALING JAYA: Sipping latte at your favourite cafe, you suddenly remember that you have not paid your credit card bills and decide to make use of the free Wi-fi.
However, before you log on to your bank account using your smartphone or any other mobile device, stop - a cyber criminal may be lurking nearby, waiting to tap into your transaction and steal important data.
Cybersecurity Malaysia has advised mobile device users against using public Wi-fi to conduct their e-banking, online shopping or important company or personal transactions to avoid courting danger.
"Cyber criminals can easily sniff out important information such as credit card numbers, e-banking username and password via public Wi-fi," said Cybersecurity CEO Lt-Col (R) Prof Datuk Husin Jazri.
"Mobile devices today carry confidential information such as company e-mail messages, product pictures and customer contact details. Like personal computers, they are vulnerable to spam, viruses, spyware, theft, loss and even phishing attacks.
"The confidentiality and availability of company data will be compromised if a mobile device is misplaced, stolen or hacked into," he added.
According to Cybersecurity, Malaysia recorded RM2.75bil in losses due to cyber crimes between 2005 and 2010 with the financial sector being the worst hit.
Security technology company Symantec Corporation (Malaysia) said with mobile devices being a part of daily lives, it was easy to forget risks related to personal and corporate data.
Symantec's State of Mobility Survey this year revealed that 67% of enterprises were already using or planning to use custom mobile applications in their daily operation and transactions.
However, the survey indicated that while one in five agreed that the risks of mobile computing were extremely high, 66% felt that the benefits were worth the dangers.
The survey also showed that organisations here had been impacted by mobile incidents, such as data loss, damage to the brand, productivity loss and loss of customer trust, amounting to an average loss of RM561,305 in Malaysia last year.
"We have reached a tipping point in business' use of mobile devices. The trend is here to stay as companies find them (the benefits) extending expectations," said Symantec Enterprise Director for Risk and Compliance (Asia Pacific and Japan) Eric Lam.
He advised both consumers and corporations on the need to take responsibility for the security of their mobile devices .
"For consumers, one way to stay safe is to avoid insecure environment for important transactions. If you can't find a secure environment, save important transmissions until you can connect to a secure environment," he said.