Consumer Restraint with Mobile Purchasing

Could your smartphone be helping you over-spend?  It’s worth taking a moment to consider how having a smartphone has changed our buying habits.


A study earlier this month by the IAB notes that nearly 50 percent of smartphone owners use their phone to search, and perhaps order, merchandise from television ads.

Leisure time in front of the TV might be our most vulnerable time for making impulsive shopping decisions.  Marketers urgently repeat toll-free numbers, and offer unbelievable incentives for us to call and make a purchase on the spot.  The phone’s right in our lap; we can quickly check whether there’s been any feedback on the product, dial the number and in a few minutes, have a nifty new invention on its way.  Shopping networks love smartphones!


Away from home, smartphones are convenient conduits for consumers, making it quick, simple and effortless to make purchases that we otherwise might not make.  Consider the 38% of us in IAB’s study who use our phones while we’re shopping.  Almost half of us turn to our phone to compare prices or check out further information on a product.  The ability to make these decisions onsite in a grocery store, department store or mall has made us better shoppers and, perhaps, more prolific shoppers.

In the not-so-recent past, buying a large-ticket item usually meant sitting down at a PC, searching through brands, descriptions, reviews and prices prior to actually making a purchase.  The difference now is that we can see the big-ticket item while we’re out and about, get the product information instantly and make an on-the-spot purchase that we might have taken months to make, or perhaps not made at all.

Good or Bad?

The upside? Perhaps the surge in smartphone ownership is helping boost the economy.  In addition, mobile devices might make us more efficient shoppers.   The downside may be that we’re making impulsive purchases because the information is at our fingertips at any given moment.  Another negative effect could be that we’re using our mobile phones in public to make purchases, thus exposing our private banking and credit card information to strangers and Wi-Fi hackers.

As with any cultural advance, it takes a bit of time to adjust to the uniqueness of the mobile devices’ portability.  It’s fun to have the ability to instantly make purchases with a click or a swipe, but we need to learn to use our smartphones wisely, and to teach our children to do the same.  Think twice before making an impulsive purchase on your phone, and always be sure you have strong mobile security protection before conducting financial transactions on your phone, especially when you’re out in public.

Visit our website and learn about the world’s most impressive mobile protection.  For our standard package, it won’t cost you a dime, and 125 million customers can’t be wrong.

Why Mobile Security Should be on Every IT Leader’s Mind

Guest Blog by Chris Stier, Managing Director of the Americas, NQ Mobile

(Download our infographic.  Chris Stier’s RCA presentation: Mobile Security – Protecting Your Customers and Your Network, is scheduled to be delivered at 2:45 p.m.tomorrow at the Rural Carriers Association Spring Expo in Orlando, FL)

Smartphones, tablets and mobile computing devices have seen explosive growth on today’s wireless networks. While the proliferation of these devices provides tremendous benefits for wireless carriers and their subscribers, they also expose carrier networks and subscribers to malicious attacks from a whole host of viruses and malware. Dealing with this exposure
is further complicated by the number of smartphone operating systems, i.e., Android, iPhone, Windows Mobile, RIM, and Symbian. In this session, you will learn about the very real and growing threat of virus and malware attacks on mobile devices worldwide. We will discuss actual case studies and examples of mobile malware threats that are resulting in financial, data theft and privacy intrusion. Additionally, you will learn about approaches and technologies that you as a carrier can use to help protect your subscribers and your networks from these malicious attacks.

Due to the proliferation of smartphones over the past five years, we now live in a world where our lives are on our mobile phones.  Consumers today have the ability to access their information – through social networks, bank accounts, or corporate e-mail accounts – anywhere, anytime thanks to smartphone. Of course, this also means that their most important data—including contacts, banking details, social networking account info, and even corporate emails and sensitive corporate data—are also stored on their phones.

There’s no doubt about it. This trend will continue over the next few years. Smartphone shipments are now outpacing PCs in many areas of the world, and smartphones are quickly becoming pocket-PCs, creating a new realm of opportunity for cyber criminals and a whole new area of concern for IT teams. Mobile malware is rapidly spreading, as hackers and malware authors take advantage of major flaws in mobile security. As a result, IT leaders are facing a unique problem because people are bringing their own devices into the work environment, making it hard for companies to prevent these threats from doing harm to both the employees and businesses.

Employees and IT managers are simply not prepared for a world running on handhelds. While most PC users understand the need to secure their desktop and laptop computers, smartphone users and businesses are only starting to recognize the need for mobile security. Cyber criminals are well aware of this and now focusing on mobile scams, particularly the most profitable ones that allow them to steal sensitive data from businesses.

This is a major concern for IT and business leaders. Not only are consumers using their unprotected mobile devices to shop, bank, stay in touch and socialize, they’re also using their mobile devices to access sensitive corporate data. When you consider that the average cost of a corporate data breach is $7.2 million and the use of personal devices for work purposes greatly increases the risk of data breaches, it’s clear that mobile security is a fundamental need for both smartphone users and the companies they work for.

If companies fail to ensure their employees, who are using their corporate resources, are equipped with mobile security offerings, they’re at high risk of data loss and other threats. The good news is that, by taking the time to secure their employees’ corporate mobile devices and data, and teaching them to protect their personal devices, they’ll fully realize the potential of using mobile devices without the hassles.

IT’s main challenge is to strike a balance between efficient practices and a reasonable policy for the secure use of mobile phones.  Some businesses have developed strict guidelines to protect corporate data and sensitive information, such as restricting smartphone use to email and phone calls, and prohibiting any downloads without the advance approval of the company’s tech team. Other organizations issue company-owned mobile phones for business, and limit their use to activities that are secured within the company’s own network. However, whether it’s allowed or not, many people bring their own mobile phones to work and use them for business purposes without much thought about security.

When it comes to personal smartphone use, corporations often place security responsibilities in the lap of the individual user, and may offer support and security information through a company website.  A typical employee who uses a smartphone does so for business calls, emailing, customer or contact data, credit card payments, document retrieval and GPS assistance, as well as social networking, if this is important to the company’s marketing efforts. Each one of these activities can attract malicious intruders that can enter sensitive areas of the company’s internal network.

A sound corporate policy might start with the simple mandate of locking and secure passwords for mobile devices. Network managers should stay on top of mobile platform updates, perhaps limit data accessibility on the company network, and prohibit downloads and private social networking on company phones. A company might also institute a loss-prevention security system that would lock and wipe the device clean in the event it becomes lost or stolen. Company strategy must take into account its level of dependence on remote communications, the number of phones in use, and the company’s willingness to shoulder the risks involved in opening a data highway between its mobile phones and internal network systems.

When a business of any size decides to embrace the mobile phone as a tool, it is wise to simultaneously develop sound a company security strategy to protect it from a malware calamity. So start small–by encouraging smartphone users to download a strong mobile security product (like NQ Mobile Security) or go bigger and make mobile security a mandatory part of your IT policy. Whatever you do, don’t wait for mobile malware and hackers to strike. Keep your organization protected and your ROI will be real and well worth it.

Chris Stier Speaks Tomorrow at RCA

(Download our infographic.  Chris Stier’s RCA presentation: Mobile Security – Protecting Your Customers and Your Network, is scheduled to be delivered at 2:45 p.m.tomorrow at the Rural Carriers Association Spring Expo in Orlando, FL)


The association called RCA is an national organization of wireless carriers. Focused on all things wireless, RCA is holding its annual Spring Expo this week in Orlando, Florida.  A gathering of the wireless industry’s CEOs and leading publishers are discussing everything from the effects of a downturned economy to the complexities of implementing a 4G strategy.  All the massive wireless companies, such as Sprint and Alcatel-Lucent will be represented during this week of workshops, breakout sessions and, alright, golfing.  This year’s theme is “Connecting Communities in a Global World.”

Chris Stier Presents

Speaking of breakout sessions, our own Chris Stier will be presenting an hour-long session tomorrow entitled Mobile Security –Protecting Your Customers and Your Network.  Chris is NQ Mobile’s Managing Director of the Americas.  His session begins at 2:45, and promises to be an eye-opener for those who are at the other side of the wireless spectrum and may not be aware of the true effects of mobile malware. Chris will present some real-life cases of breaches and malware infections, and explain to his audience some of the measures that can be taken to avoid such problems in the workplace and at home.  In addition, he’ll offer some approaches carriers can consider to help protect their subscribers and networks.

Special Notice

We’ll be offering a special gift to the first three people who post comment about Chris’s presentation.  The first five lucky folks to post some feedback will receive a free 3-month upgrade to NQ Mobile’s Premium Security package!  Don’t miss out.  This offer will begin tomorrow at 3:45, after the session.

We’re posting this blog today, and will remind readers and attendees at RCA through Facebook and Twitter about our offer.  Thanks to attendees, customers and readers for your loyal support.

Download come of the contents of Chris’s RCA presentation:   Mobile Security – Protecting Your Customers and Your Network, to be delivered at 2:45 p.m.tomorrow at the Rural Carriers Association Spring Expo in Orlando, FL)

Read Your EULA!

EULA is an acronym for End User License Agreement.  You may see this term when you are about to download a new app on your mobile device.  There are various names for the initial agreement you’re asked to make with your app creator. Sometimes it’s a simple Terms of Service statement, which tells you what you can and cannot do with the product.  Some apps have both, and some provide a Privacy Policy statement.  In any case, there is always some type of legal agreement to click through when you’re downloading an app.  You and your kids may not always stop to read it carefully.

What’s the big deal?  When you’re downloading a new app, you’re eager to see it, play
it, work it and make it work for you.  It’s so much easier to just touch the Accept button and get on with it.  However, here are some examples of the downside of blindly clicking through a download.

  •  A news update mobile app on the market has a lengthy user agreement, which includes all the standard ways in which you won’t sell or abuse their software.  However, their privacy policy is available to you by way of a link, which you may not bother to click.  The privacy policy explains how, by your downloading of their app, the company is entitled to gather private information about you and your device, and it doesn’t necessarily tell you what they’re going to do with it.
  • Certain game apps, especially those offered for free, tell you that the company can and will collect all of your private information – this could include your email address, phone number, images, contacts and, unfortunately, any financial information stored on your phone.  The information is sold to third parties for analytics, as well as for fraudulent purposes.   If you aren’t sure what you’re reading and agreeing to, it’s best to forget the app until you can acquire it from a reputable company.  Scammers are good at double-speak when it comes to user agreements.

Don’t let your treasured smartphone become an instrument of distress and loss.  Teach your kids to read license agreements, and protect your data and your family by downloading a well-respected mobile security package.  It’s easy and only takes a few minutes to give yourself some peace of mind in a risky world.

BYOD – Are You In?

Does your company allow, or even encourage employees to use their private mobile devices for work purposes?  Employees should view their smartphones as mini-computers packed full of data that, in the hands of a thief, could cause untold damage to the company, as well as the individual.  NQ Mobile and NCSA offer some valuable ideas about how to manage security in the BYOD environment.

The IT Pro's Guide to Mobile Security

Mobile Identity Fraud Hurts

Recent research studies estimate that 12 million Americans were affected by identity fraud in 2011.  What happens when your identity is stolen?  If you haven’t experienced it, here’s hoping it never happens to you!

Your Data’s Gone Mobile

Smartphone users are 33 percent more likely to be victimized by identify fraud than the general public.  Your smartphone contains valuable information that was formerly stored in your home office or business computer.  Your phone, a mobile, mini-computer that travels with you, is more likely to become lost, stolen or compromised than a desktop computer.  All our cyber activities – social networking, online purchasing and emailing – are now a mobile matter.  Mobile fraudsters are spending more time than ever developing sophisticated ways to access your information

How Will You Know?

Unfortunately, most people don’t realize their identity is being used by someone else until it’s already happened.  One woman received a call from her bank, asking her if she’d been in Florida recently.   The woman had never been to Florida, but her bank statement reflected a wild shopping spree that included clothing from high-end stores, athletic shoes, expensive dining and a range of purchases that had drained her bank account into the negative zone.  In this instance, she was fortunate to have a banker who recognized the unusual activity and questioned it.  She had been using her debit card account for online purchases on her unprotected smartphone.  The account number and login data had apparently been stolen electronically through the use of malware.

Getting stolen money restored by a bank or credit card company is time-consuming, upsetting, and not always possible. It can be a devastating event, causing untold stress and inconvenience.

How Can ID Fraud Be Avoided?

Learn to view your phone as a private

  • Keep your phone locked and password-protected.  It’s astonishing how many people are averse to entering a password after their phone has sat idle for a period of time.  It’s worth the few seconds it takes to re-open what you might consider your private digital wallet.  Leaving your smartphone open and unprotected is almost as risky as leaving your open wallet lying out.
  • Check your private banking and credit accounts frequently.  Any charge or unusual activity should be reported to your bank. Scammers who steal account numbers often make initial small purchases to test the account’s viability.
  • Update your operating system as soon as updates are available.
  • Don’t overshare on social media sites.  This goes for business networks, as well, which tend to have a higher rate of identity fraud.  Anything you post on a profile is fair game.
  • Malware is almost always designed to steal information that will lead to money.  Download a powerful mobile security package that will alert you before malware has a chance to access your system.