Is your smart phone protected from being hacked?

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Is your smart phone protected from being hacked?

Top DED official advises consumers to secure mobile devices with genuine anti-virus and follow safe processes while accessing Internet or shopping online

By Salah Al Deberky - Reporter

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Published: Thu 18 Sep 2014, 1:16 AM

Last updated: Fri 3 Apr 2015, 5:17 PM

What caught my attention recently is a survey released by Norton Symantec, the company specialised in software protection, files and privacy while browsing as well as safeguarding the PCs and software devices from being hacked and penetrated into.

The security software company revealed through its survey that nearly nine out of 10 online adults, who represent 87 per cent in the Middle East and Africa, are users of cell phones, with a large majority — 78 per cent — using them to access the Internet. And that nearly one in four mobile device users in the Middle East and Africa, admit to not always downloading applications from trustworthy sources. Close to three in 10 (29 per cent) indicated that they do not use secure payment methods when making purchases from their mobile phones, leaving their sensitive information such as credit card details vulnerable to penetration and theft.

Users — be they are teenagers or adults in the Middle East region — use mobile phones to access social networking websites, forums, or communicate with text messages, video technology and play electronic games on the Internet, in addition to shopping online. This is even when there is no full protection to their devices against threats and hence they are in a big danger of losing their important information.

Though the mobile phones are increasingly used, many users are not promptly following the steps to protect neither their devices nor the information they are feeding through them. Thus they become vulnerable to online threats. Therefore, they must get genuine and sophisticated anti-virus programmes to shield their devices.

Today, the protection of privacy has been worrying many consumers due to the many changes seen in the IT as well as the rapid growth in the use of the Internet and e-trade, which also witnessed operations and methods of collecting, analysing and using personal information.

These changes have made privacy a significant social issue in all over the world. Issues related to privacy have come to capture the attention of media and companies, yet, some people are ready to trade, at various levels, in privacy to get discounts on products or the free programmes, or some other benefits.

It is extremely important to enlighten the consumers about the products that give genuine protection, which is basically very important as most of them have good knowledge about the cyber threats. For instance, most of the consumers know very well how to protect their software devices, but they don’t care about protecting their smart phones.

Banks should also teach their customers how to do processes safely online, and that also applies to the experts of the industry who must teach the consumers to browse safely, notably on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Amazon and ebay.

(As told by Ibrahim Behzad, Senior Manager of the Intellectual Property Rights Protection Section, DED)

30 trade stores fined for operating lotto machines

The Field Control Division of DED fined 30 trade stores last month for allegedly operating gambling-type lottery machines. The action was part of a crackdown launched by the inspectors of the division on trade shops and stores that were found to have been operating lotto-amusement coin machines.

The errant shopkeepers were fined for installing the lotto machines that gave out coins to the user who got lucky in the gamble. This is a direct violation of law which bans gambling in the country, said Ahmed Al Awadhi, senior director of the division.

“Such practices forfeit consumer rights and lead to the exploitation of the funds of public illegally,” he said, adding that the trade establishments should abide by the instructions and conditions on practicing their economic activities. “If the defaulter fails to rectify the irregularity then it could lead also to the suspension of his trade licence so they should stave off from the acts which can result in them being penalised.”

He called on all consumers to take extra precaution in dealing with these machines, which depend on luck, and siphon off their money. Consumers should report if they come across any such gambling machines, which not only exploits them but also go against the society, customs and traditions of the UAE.

We will try — through the field commercial control division — to study the impact of such illegal practices and ways to combat them, with the aim of improving the work environment, he said.

“ The Field Control Division is one of the important sections of DED, which is responsible for dealing with and curbing unacceptable practices such as monopoly, tampering with prices and trade fraud’, he added.

Complaints & Responses

Check the terms of warranty: A consumer complained that he had bought a cooker from a shop and its internal glass broke during the warranty period. When he approached the shop to get the glass replaced, he was informed that the warranty dies not cover the glass. However, the complainant wanted the glass to be replaced. A review of the warranty card of the product showed that the warranty policy does not include the glass. The complainant was notified about this.

Dealer agrees to replace car: A woman claimed that she had bought a car from a local car dealer. When she received the car, however, she found it of No 2 specifications though she had booked a car with No 3 specifications. She asks the auto dealer to replace the car with the model she had booked for. The Consumer Complaint Section of the DED contacted the woman to get further details about her complaint and she informed the section that the auto dealer had already responded to her request after she lodged the complaint with the DED.

Garage asked to repair car: A person said he had submitted his car to a garage for repair through his insurance company. When he collected his car, he found out that the car was not fixed properly. He also spotted further snags in the car. The Consumer Complaint Section communicated with both parties, and it has been agreed on that the garage would repair the faulty parts and hand the car over to the complainant as soon as possible.

(Compiled by Salah Al Deberky)

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