Security around the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will be at unprecedented levels with thousands of extra policemen and soldiers being drafted in to the host cities to ensure the safety of fans. This said, there’s no doubt that criminals see the event as a major opportunity.
While this site is devoted to exposing the cyber criminals and helping prepare readers against their often sophisticated scams, it’s worth our while to pause and consider the threat posed by the more traditional scourge of common muggers and bag snatchers.
South Africa has experienced one of the most rapid uptakes of mobile telephony worldwide with the vast majority of users opting for pre-paid packages. This means that the demand for mobile handsets on the black-market is high and visiting fans must be aware that their mobiles will be prize targets for petty thieves.
While a stolen handset can be replaced relatively easily, the development of mobile telephony applications has meant that today’s users tend to store more and more personal information on their devices. The kind of information you keep on your mobile is often timely and costly to replace, and it can be quite distressing to think someone else has access to your personal information.
This is particularly relevant for smart phones, which are used for financial transactions. If you’ve set your phone up to purchase ring tones, video clips or have registered for mobile banking, the consequences are far more serious than losing a contact list or a reminder of your mum’s birthday!
The solution is simple – use the password facility on your handset to protect your personal information. According to a survey by the BBC last year, only six out of 10 people password protect their phone and nearly a quarter of people surveyed said they store PIN numbers and passwords on their handset.
For the vast majority of people, it’s second nature to use a password to control access to their PCs, so perhaps we should all start thinking about our mobile phones in the same way.