Twenty-eight percent of U.S. adults use location-based applications such as Facebook, Groupon and Google Maps on their mobile devices, and that number is expected to grow significantly. But a new ISACA white paper cautions that regulating the use of geolocation data is still in its infancy, so individuals must be aware of the information they are sharing and enterprises must act now to protect themselves and the information they provide, collect and use.
Geolocation uses data acquired from a computer or mobile device to identify a physical location. Applications using this technology offer consumers greater convenience, discounted prices and easy information sharing, and enable enterprises to deliver more personalized customer service and offers. But as geolocation services become more common, the need for data management and enterprise controls increases significantly.
As ISACA’s new white paper, “Geolocation: Risk, Issues and Strategies,” points out, malicious use of geolocation data can put both an individual and an enterprise at risk. When a person’s personal information, such as gender, race, occupation and financial history, is combined with information from a GPS and geolocation tags, the data can be used by criminals to identify an individual’s present or future location. This raises the potential of threats ranging from burglary and theft to stalking and kidnapping.
“As the number of geolocation users grows and the proliferation of mobile devices continues, the prospect of individual or enterprise information becoming available to hackers or other unauthorized users is a significant concern,” said Marios Damianides, CISM, CISA, CA, CPA, past international president of ISACA and partner, Advisory Services, at Ernst & Young. “We need policies that will establish ‘privacy by design’ to instill trust across the enterprise and guard against malicious use of location information.”
Regulators are aware of such concerns and are moving to enact rules regarding how companies can use geolocation data. Current U.S. legislation proposed by Sens. Al Franken (D-Minn) and Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) would restrict whether companies can store individual location data obtained from mobile devices, and a proposed amendment to the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) from the U.S. Federal Trade Commission addresses the collection of geolocation data from children under age 13.
Collecting and using geolocation data pose risk to the enterprise, including:
“We live in a mobile world and geolocation is here to stay. It brings obvious benefits both to individuals and enterprises, but if not managed properly the associated risk will be substantial,” said Ramsés Gallego, member of ISACA’s Guidance and Practices Committee and security strategist and evangelist at Quest Software. “It directly impacts individuals’ and enterprises’ privacy and confidentiality, and the consequences of poor governance over geolocation can be disastrous.”
Ten Early Warning Signs of Fraud in OrganizationsWarning signs of fraud and actions that can be taken to counter the risks.
The Top 10 Strategic Technologies for 2012 Use this list in your strategic planning for 2012.
The 10 Things Every Business Should Know About B2B E-commerceTips to consider before adopting a B2B e-commerce platform.
Small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are vital to the U.S. economy, yet they are often the most vulnerable when it comes to cybersecurity. ... More >>
While the tech geek is busting at the seams with anticipation, the network admin is scared to death. All this technology results in bandwidth hoarding, security vulnerabilities and compliance concerns for IT departments. ... More >>
Given the fluid nature of BYOD and related security issues, the next logical step is to approach the data's security independent of the device or location. ... More >>