Although the term is commonly know, identity theft is when someone pretends to be someone else by assuming that person’s identity. This is usually to obtain some sort of financial information or some other benefit.
In years past, it was common for someone to have their wallet stolen and their accounts drained. However, today there is a spike in a new form of identity theft. Certain banking branches are releasing applications that allow users to access their financial information via their smartphone. For example, Chase’s smartphone application allows for the user to check their financial balance, transfer funds, and even deposit checks. This initially seems to be very convenient for smartphone users. However, this has become a very serious issue today.
Recently there has been a number of seminars taking place. These seminars began in 2008 courtesy of the National Foundation for Credit Counseling. The seminars have shifted gears. They are now strongly urging the protection of financial information as it is used through smartphones. “Although smartphones brought great convenience into people’s lives, they also brought with them another opportunity for thieves to access personal data and use it to their advantage,” foundation Vice President Gail Cunnigham said.
After this statement, the article explains that this form of identity theft is taking place due to weak security by the smartphones. “A study by Javelin Strategy & Research found that smartphone users are 33 percent more likely than non-users to become victims of ID theft.” I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to fall into that 33 percent.
The article expresses a number of ways to help protect yourself from this form of identity theft; one example, “protect your smartphone with strong passwords.” This seems to be somewhat of a give-in; however, what part do the smartphone manufacturers, designers, and producers play in all of this?
Do you think it would be an ethical undertaking for companies such as Apple to make it a requirement that you use a password? Would it look good on Apple’s behalf if you had to set up a password when you turn your new iPhone on the for the first time? I know that certain varieties of Motorola phones have a fingerprint option for a lock. Do you think this type of need or feature only appeals to people who might have “more to lose,” or would it appeal to the average college student as well?
If these companies were to implement a new security strategy, do you think it would be beneficial for them to zero in on, or forecast based on specific demographics who would see more value in the added security measures?
Here is an interesting video about this topic: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g5_H9dxUO_g