Juniper Research predicts a fourfold increase over the next three years in consumers purchasing goods with their mobile devices such as smartphones.  That means $1.3 trillion.  Now, all by itself that is just an interesting fact.  But let’s add to it these facts:

1—Almost 70% of consumers have not password protected their smartphones.

2—Malware targeting smartphones has increased 18% in the last year.

Do you see the problem?  We have some weak links in the payment process that will likely catch many consumers by surprise.  But hopefully, you know the rules: password protect your devices and be very careful about what you download.

As usual, American ingenuity isn’t sitting by and letting all this bad stuff happen.  Olga Kharif describes some of the marvelous technological responses to help win the war on this form of cybercrime (“A New Frontier for Criminals” Bloomberg Businessweek 10/8/12–10/14/12):

“Banks and mobile-payment providers are scrambling to build—or buy—better defenses. . . . Guardian Analytics, a Silicon Valley startup, has developed software for banks that analyzes a consumer’s past transaction behavior . . . to determine if her phone has been hijacked.  There are also security tools that can triangulate a mobile user’s location and verify that she is using her usual wireless device.  PayPal has identified more than 1,000 variables that can help the company determine the authenticity of a transaction.” (p. 62)

I think these measures are terrific.  Kharif even refers to one researcher who is proposing an additional security measure that will further contextualize every mobile-payment transaction by automatically having the smartphone record ambient sound during the transaction process.

The cybersecurity war wages on, but I’d say we have some good soldiers in the trenches.  Simultaneously, we each need to watch for the enemies that still sneak into our own backyards.

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About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Tyco Integrated Security at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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