A Vimeo user by the name of alversae caught a UPS delivery man stealing his daughters Christmas present off their porch using their front door security camera. The Christmas present was an iPad Mini, which was probably easy to surmise by the delivery man from the size of the package and where it was coming from. The video, shown below, shows the Fedex guy find a pre-signed document for delivery, scans the package, and then drop it off. A while later, around 1pm, the UPS driver drops off his own package and sees the Fedex package. He leaves for about a minute, only to return, take a close look and appear to “scan” the device, and then walk off with it.
It can be a scary world out there sometimes, and with the growing population of cell phone users, higher price tags and quick turn over it is no wonder cell phone theft is on the rise. Not just theft out of someones purse or when you leave it on a table. Straight grabbing it from your hand and running down the street theft. Blatant theft that is on the rise in places like Philadelphia. Last yea there were over 400 cell phone thefts reported on Philadelphia’s mass transit, up from 182 in 2008. What can you do to avoid being one of those numbers?
RIM, British Tabloids and Sony are taking center stage recently and it isn’t the kind of attention any of them want. RIM had much of their Blackberry network shutdown, TWICE, in European, Africa and Middle Eastern countries. Sony has been hacked over and over again. Then we have News Corp. tabloids caught red handed in despicable phone hacking cases. These kind of things happen, and it isn’t unheard of for it to happen occasionally (minus the phone hacking thing). But this past year has shown more and more of these kind of tech disasters that no company wants to see more than once, if ever.
Over the past decade cell phones have went from simply “mobile phones” to “mobile computers”. We can surf the web, check on our finances, pay bills, stay connected with social media and even use GPS to find our way around the world. It seems that with every year our Phones become more and more essential to our daily lives. Well, that is about to take another leap this very year. Google has just released, though limited, Google Wallet, an Android exclusive application.
Google Wallet, available only on the Sprint Nexus S (for now), is literally what it claims to be, your wallet. Anyone with an Android phone will be able to link their credit and debit cards to one simple application. Each card will be protected with a PIN code, which you unlock for every purchase. No more losing credit cards and scrambling to get it locked before someone uses it to buy a yacht. Now, if you lose your phone, horrible in its own way, you can feel better in knowing that your finances will remain secure.
Android phones outfitted with Near Field Communication (NFC), will be able to go to any store and purchase goods with a simple wave of their phone. The amount of stores accepting such a device are limited at the moment, but growing fast. You can search via the program itself, by entering your zip code, and find locations near you already accepting the new program. We searched for locations in Philadelphia and found dozens accepting Google Wallet.
At the moment only Citi Bank Mastercard is linked to Google Wallet, but Google already has deals planned with Visa, Discover and American Express. In the meantime you can use google’s prepaid card within the application and add money from any card you please. What does this mean for our Cell Phones future? And with such a major change to how we do finances, how will Apples iPhone respond? Competition is healthy, and this can only mean great things for us.
Numerous banks already have finance applications linked to your account, but just imagine having them all in one simple location, in your pocket, protected with the same security as an ATM. No more clunky wallets, no more scrambling for that one specific card for that one specific store. All new Android phones will be NFC compatible, which is some bad news for older Droid users. Or is it? Visa is actually working on MicroSD cards with NFC technology. If such technology gets released, anyone with a microSD slot in their phone will be able to enjoy this application (and future ones to come). Droid X, Reality and even the very first Droid by Motorola could be potentially compatible.
But don’t count Apple or Windows out. If there is one constant in the world it’s that when one company innovates, the others copy and possibly enhance. Apple has been known to go toe to toe with Google on the software market. Apple will respond, and in turn, will cause Google to respond in kind. When that response will be is unknown at the moment.
But why the limited release? This seems like such an incredible program that anyone and everyone will want asap. According to Tech Crunch, Google wants to ensure the security and functionality of the NFC technology behind the Google Wallet. Considering this program could be potentially holding millions of people’s credit cards, it’s a wise choice to field test it as much as possible. Their goal is to make Google Wallet more secure than having a physical card on you at all times. Just having it be PIN activated already makes it slightly more secure than its old plastic cousins. This is only the beginning though, so our flimsy credit cards will probably live on for a few more years before the general public will trust such a program. Now we simply wait for the competition and see what innovation comes next.
It seems like a lifetime since the casual–though clumsy–portable or cellular phone generation switched to Smart Phones. Everyone from the average citizen to the global corporate CEO utilizes a small pocket device for practically every aspect of their lives. But how secure are your Smart Phone interactions?
Many new and refurbished Smart Phones are equipped with some kind of rudimentary security device and it seems that most people are either comfortable with that, or simply feel that browsing the web from a phone is more secure than from their PC. Have they been lulled into a false sense of security, or are Smart Phones worthy of all of our faith?
According to |, the Apple iPhone lacks some basic but critical features when it comes to overall security. It’s operating system can be compromised due to corrupted downloads, it lacks over-air updates, and it has relatively no device encryption.
Windows Mobile phones covers a majority of basic security requirements for corporate and personal use along with the iPhone‘s full VPN support.
Both the Android and Symbian phones have a very open nature when it comes to third party access; however, installed software is “theoretically unable” to do any major damage to the device without being traced to the source.
Android and Symbian users are asked permission to utilize certain protected features–and anyone who accesses these features do so with a protected private key.
If you want the ultimate in Smart Phone protection, however, be prepared to pay for it. The Sectera Edge (sold for about $3350) offers military-grade encryption and was offered to President Obama as the alternative for ditching his Blackberry.
But what does all of this mean? Well, other than the old “if it’s good enough for the President, it’s good enough for me” argument, new and refurbished Blackberrys seem to have the highest rated and most user-friendly security aspects amongst Smart Phones.
No matter what device you choose, you should always be wary of your phone’s security settings and overall management. Proper routine maintenance of your technology is crucial to a happy and long-lasting relationship with whichever device you choose. So, remember to choose your Smartphone wisely, but also take care of it–after all–it takes care of you.