16 Nov 2015
It has been nearly two years since I wrote a post on cell phone security, after multiple of recent incidents of people sharing their life issues on their cell phone while out in public, I decided it was time for a reminder.
The most recent incident happened today. I was at a local business working on a consulting deal. The team I was meeting with invited me to stay for lunch at their in house cafeteria. We get on the escalator down to the cafeteria, the lady behind me is on the phone with what sounded like her husband. She was saying that their son had left her a message stating that he needed $10 transferred into his account so he could buy a book. She said she couldn’t do it and asked if he could. She then proceeded to tell him their sons account number and reminded him what bank the account was in.
Now this was all during a trip on a down escalator, so not a long period of time, once I got to the bottom, I hooked back up with the team for lunch and the lady behind me when on her way. This got me thinking, when I wrote about cell phone security before I said “remember, your not in your living room”, the thing is, most people get so comfortable at work, they most likely feel like they are in their living room.
Most office buildings have a cubical type configuration rather than real walls and doors. The cube mates that you work with on a daily basis most likely can hear everything you are doing in your cube. Now you would like to think that the people you work with are trust worthy and most of them probably are, that is still no reason to be lax in your own personal security. Not to mention when you are away from your desk at the office building, maybe running to lunch as this lady was, you really don’t know who is around you. We live in an open society, the ability to get in a private place is very difficult if you are not in your home or your car, even in your car you are out in the open, check out Seven Car Safety Tips.
Always take caution when talking on your phone and follow these important situational awareness practices:
- Be aware of your surroundings
- Assume someone is always close enough to hear what you are saying on the phone
- Don’t share confidential information like addresses, phone numbers, account numbers, etc. while out in public
- Ideally don’t use a public wi-fi connection, now this is more data related, public wi-fi connections are open and lacking in security, what you type and the sites you access can be easily captured.
- Don’t walk with your head down looking at your phone, some bad guy will see you are an easy target because you are not paying attention to your surroundings.
- When looking at your phone it is best to be sitting with your back against a wall so people can only approach you from the sides or front, this allows for a little bit more security
- Get in the habit of typing and looking up and around every few words, always being aware of who is around and what is going on around you
- Not only should you be aware of what you are saying out loud in public, but be aware of what others are saying, no I am not talking about eavesdropping inappropriately, but be smart and aware of what type of conversations are being said around you. Most are benign, but, I have been around people who were having an argument that escalated to being physical. Get far aware from those types of conversations before they get to that point
It boils down to good situational awareness, while you are on the phone be aware of your surroundings, who is or could listen to you. Be aware of your surroundings in regard to what others are doing around you.
Practice that your phone is the detraction not the focus. You should never have the environment around you be the detraction. Where you are and what is going on around you should always be your primary focus, don’t ever let what goes on around you be a surprise. Don’t let your phone become the focus, when you do, bad things can and will happen and you will not be prepared for it either in an event that occurs where you are, or in that someone overhears your conversation and takes that information and uses it in a bad way.
It only takes a second to have your phone detract you and get you to put your guard down. Be conscience to not let that second happen.