CompTIA®A+ Core 2 Exam Notes : Implementing methods for securing mobile devices

3. Security

3.5 Implementing methods for securing mobile devices

Screen Locks: Apple and Android mobile devices include a requisite locking mechanism, which is off by default. The user can enable these locks. The following are types of locks that you can implement to secure your device.

Fingerprint lock: A fingerprint lock has a built-in fingerprint reader that is used to access the device. It is a biometric-type of lock that uses your fingerprint to unlock the device. This works by placing your finger on a touchpad sensor on the device.

Face lock: Face lock uses the built-in camera to identify the users face to allow access. There are a high number of false positives that makes the face lock less secure than the fingerprint lock. This means that presumably someone that looks like you could unlock your phone.

Swipe lock: Swipe lock has a predefined pattern that users outline with their finger to allow access. The swipe lock works by displaying nine dots in a matrix of 3x3. You then swipe with your finger with the registered pattern to unlock the phone. The swipe lock is the least secure of any locking methods. A grease trail from your fingers can allow someone to derive the swipe pattern.

Passcode lock: Passcode lock uses a personal identification number (PIN) to access the device. It is a 4-6 digit numeric passcode or a alphanumeric depending on the device. Passcode locks suffer from the same problems that password are prone to: People can shoulder surf or learn your passcode over time.

Remote wipes: In the event of a lost or stolen your mobile device the capability to remotely delete all of the data on the device is extremely important to the device security. In most cases the security measures given above will be sufficient to secure your data. When you are sure the device cannot be recovered or you think the security measures will not withstand a breach, you have no choice but to clear all personal data from the device.

Patching/OS updates: A patch modifies the existing software to add security features or operational improvements also known as bug fixes. Critical patches are known as hotfixes. A Service Pack refers to a group of patches and hot fixes compiled into a single download and install as a cumulative update. In the mobile environment the programming on the device is being constantly tested for vulnerabilities.

Biometric authentication: One approach is biometric authentication, a system that relies on the unique biological characteristics (such as retina, voice, fingerprint, signature) of individuals to verify identity for secure access to electronic systems. The benefits of using biometrics for user authentication are evident.

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