We Have Gone Mobile And The Trolls Are Winning

We Have Gone Mobile And The Trolls Are WinningAccording to recent research by Gartner, people around the world will buy about 1.2 billion smartphones and tablets in 2013.  That will account for around 70% of all devices sold.

This accounts for businesses and all of us using personal smart devices in our daily lives. Just to give you an idea of how ubiquitous this is becoming, this morning I was at my local garage getting my car inspected and a very elderly gentleman was sitting next to me on an iPad with a keyboard. He was watching some family videos and checking a few things on the web. The television was on in the waiting room, but no one was paying attention. Everyone was on a phone or tablet, including me.

“For most businesses smartphones and tablets will not entirely replace PCs, but the ubiquity of smartphones and the increasing popularity of tablets are changing the way businesses look at their device strategies and the way consumers embrace devices,” said Carolina Milanesi, research vice president at Gartner.  “In 2016, two-thirds of the mobile workforce will own a smartphone, and 40% of the workforce will be mobile”.

With this dramatic change in computing, protecting ourselves and our information is becoming critical.  With the recent hurricane hitting the northeast US last week, people relied on these devices for communication with loved ones and getting emergency information and relief.  Unfortunately with crisis come the scammers, the con artists, and the criminals who want to steal things and make a buck.  To badly paraphrase a famous quote and with apologies to Voltaire, “With great technology come the great trolls.”

I kept hearing reports of people reading fake hurricane information on Twitter and Facebook.  There were also fake email campaigns for contributing to the relief.  Most of us can figure out these scams during normal times, but when a crisis hits, who can you trust?

Most of us refer to people who post inflammatory content on websites as Internet trolls or just trolls.  The content is frequently anonymous and designed to elicit a negative response.  It could be political or just plain nasty.  I lump all the scammers and criminals in the same category.  This is unfortunately the underbelly of the beast.

They play on our fears and our sympathies, but the goal is to part you from your money.  A common tactic is putting out a lot of nonsense on social media sites or through email phishing schemes.  Since many of us are only catching glimpses of information on our mobile devices, we may get caught up in a false situation.  Sometimes it’s heartbreaking, like the scams that went around a few years ago about the boy dying from cancer who wanted business cards or Christmas cards so he could get into the Guinness World Book of Records.

Whether you are just reading your email, sharing documents or surfing the web from your mobile device, you need to be careful.  Make sure you are clicking on reliable links and that if you contribute money, you know where it’s going.

More and more of us access and share information on mobile devices and that’s only going to grow.  Whether you are use your device for personal or business reasons, the same rules apply as those on your desktop PC.  Don’t believe everything you read, don’t click on something if you’re not sure and if it sounds to good to be true, it is.    


Photo credit lennymanwoods

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