Mobile Monday: Protecting Your Privacy in a Not-So Private World

In today’s digital and data-driven world, privacy has become harder to come by and people are sharing more personal information than ever before. McAfee and One Poll conducted a study and found that 55% of people have shared their mobile or tablet PIN with others. But for us at McAfee, privacy is not dead and it’s something we strive to protect at the consumer and enterprise levels every day.

Given what a big issue it’s become, we wanted to hear what the industry’s most experienced experts had to say about this so McAfee sponsored Mobile Monday’s most recent Silicon Valley event and I moderated the panel titled, “Protecting Your Privacy in a Not-So Private World: The Mobile Security Debate.”

Our panelists included a variety of experts who brought some insightful, unique and sometimes controversial ideas to the stage. After brief introductions, we kicked off the panel and covered everything from invasive app permissions to consumer education to who’s responsible for protecting the privacy of consumers. Below are some quick highlights on the insights, issues and opinions that were raised during the discussion:

  • Magnolia Mansourkia Mobley, General Counsel/Chief Privacy Officer at Carrier IQ: The vast majority of apps are collecting far more information than they need. Our phones are screaming at us that apps are a privacy violation and we’re saying “yes, please give me more.”
  • Sameer Bhalotra, COO of Impermium, Former Sr. Dir. for Cybersecurity at the White House: Too many people do not use multi-factor authentication and it’s very clear that it’s a superior way to go. Passwords are not good enough to secure your identity. We need to find a way to do more as companies, governments and consumers to implement multi-factor authentication.
  • Jarad Carleton, Principal Consultant, ICT, Frost & Sullivan: I know some companies here in Silicon Valley that make technology for holistic encryption and their executives don’t use it. So there’s a problem at both the executive and consumer level.
  • Kashmir Hill, Senior Online Editor at Forbes Magazine: When we look at what privacy advocates are doing, their big emphasis is on getting companies to make different decisionsbecause that is more helpful than trying to educate people about what they should do. 

For those that weren’t able to make the panel, fear not! I leave you with some bite-sized takeaways from each panelist – see their best advice below—and you can watch the entire discussion on Ustream here:

  • Mobley’s advice for kids: never give an actual name, age, email or birth date to apps.
  • Hill’s easy ways to enable security: clear your cookies and set passcode on your smartphone.
  • Bhalotra’s security tip: be careful what you do online when using unsecured Wi-Fi.
  • Carleton’s advice for parents: teach your kids to have a digital firewall between your online and real life persona—online is forever.

Remember to stay safe online and think about what you post or share online—it’s like writing in permanent pen. To help you protect your smartphones and tablet, McAfee is offering 80% off McAfee Mobile Security (Until December 13th, 2013) for both your Android smartphone and tablet that will not only protect you from threats, but help protect your privacy.

And last but not least, my advice for kids: every child should STOP. THINK. CONNECT. before they go online and learn the Internet “rules of the road.”




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