Does your employer require you to use your cell phone?

By: Diane Benjamin

Nobody reads the lengthy statements before software is downloaded, so you probably don’t know the below.

Search: Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Here’s one link: https://www.fortinet.com/resources/cyberglossary/mobile-device-management

Mobile device management (MDM) is a type of security software that enables organizations to secure, monitor, manage, and enforce policies on employees’ mobile devices. 

The core purpose of MDM is to protect the corporate network by securing and optimizing mobile devices, including laptops, smartphones, tablets, and Internet-of-Things (IoT) devices, that connect to enterprise networks. Besides boosting the security of business networks, it also enables employees to use their own devices, rather than corporate-supplied devices, to work more efficiently and be more productive.

Sounds pretty benign so far but it isn’t.

Here’s a list of what you need to worry about

  • Your company may be able to remotely wipe your phone, track your location, see all texts, browser history, contacts, pictures, etc. Depending on the access you granted when you added the software, your company could wipe the entire device including your personal pictures, etc. Did you read all the “legalese” and understand what it all meant? Do you trust that an IT admin won’t accidentally click something?
  • Do you believe your company is backing up your device in case they screw up and wipe it in error or because of a virus infection at your company?
  • If your company is hacked or gets a ransom ware virus the threat may be to wipe all connected servers, pc’s, and mobile devices if they are not paid. Do you trust your company’s IT security to include your personal phone as a part of the hacker’s hostage package?
  • Do you trust that Microsoft does not have a flaw in their software that can be exploited?

If a company requires you to install their software, they should provide you their equipment.

Here’s a couple examples that have happened:

Google employee who had her phone remotely wiped after she left employment. (Recent):

https://www.fastcompany.com/90440073/if-you-use-your-personal-phone-for-work-say-goodbye-to-your-privacy

The EU removed Outlook from members of parliament a few years ago for privacy concerns.

https://www.computerworld.com/article/2881635/eu-parliament-blocks-new-outlook-apps-over-privacy-concerns.html

Remote wipe is a setting when you use outlook app on your mobile device. Login to your account, Settings (gear icon on top right), View all Outlook settings, General, Mobile devices. Users can initiate a wipe, administrators can do more. See image:

The Town of Normal disabled webmail access from trustee’s personal cell phones. They can still use webmail from desktop/laptop computers. Instead, Normal requires Trustees to install the Outlook app on their personal cell phones. Gee, I wonder why big brother would want to do this? They claim it’s for security. Sure.

8 thoughts on “Does your employer require you to use your cell phone?

  1. I think maybe (?) the reason is because our legal system has co-opted/enlisted/plugged into, all places of employment to force social change under pain of monetary penalty. But really it so lawyers can make more money.
    Once social warriors have a de facto agreement with the legal system the battle really is lost.

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  2. You’re stuck either way. Take the company phone and they own. Use your own phone with the required apps to do what u need to do and they own ! Carry 2 phones ? sucks unless you are a super elite with an aide etc. Might as well just be chipped , at least that way we can lose the lanyard ID yoke. # Unique&Special

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  3. ALL the MORE reason NOT to carry a cell phone! I’ve NEVER owned one and don’t care to.. WHY?? I Have SEEN what the GOVERNMENT is HIGHLY capable of IF you own/carry a cell phone. It’s a VERY interesting story!
    Just don’t open up your phone and make a call in the Kashmir Province of Northern India while you’re buying sapphires, you MAY find a drone strike on your butt!
    Amazing stuff WHAT they can do with cell phone pings, AWACS planes and high altitude listening/surveillance!

    NOPE! Didn’t happen to me, just a friend of mine. TRUTH IS STRANGER THEN FICTION!
    Besides, my FRIENDS KNOW where to find me, so don’t call me, just stop by and say hi, and leave your cell phone at home!

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    1. Ahh, then there’s 2 of us! I have not had one for over a year now and I have missed it exactly 2 times. Once I start traveling more again though I will “reactivate it” but just for texts and calls, I hope it will still work for that, (it’s got some age on it.) I have kept it charged. I also don’t want any of the “smart phones” and yet everyone rags at me to GET ONE! I tell them I don’t want one and it seems to stupefy them. I knew a LONG time ago “living” on your phone was NOT a good idea and I have NEVER bought into it, I do have a tablet, but it’s only for travel, laptops and desktops I do have, and I know I have some online addiction. That’s something I should work on, but damn, I don’t smoke anymore, and I barely drink, and I don’t have any other addictions (Tacos don’t count) so all in all I’m doing ok. people really don’t realize how much that phone they own, owns THEM and the more connections you make with it, the more chains are added to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I work in IT. Remotely we can turn on cameras and microphones, see the screen, access any file, turn on the microphone, push whatever software we want, see every website that has been visited, delete all or part of the computer plus many other things. It is kind of amazing that you don’t hear of IT people getting in trouble for invading someone’s “assumed privacy.”

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Lots of articles against installing work email programs on personal phones. No way would I trust giving government or my boss the ability to spy on my personal cell phone. This article is very informative.

    “ Your work account might be spying on you in the background.”

    “ A bad actor in the IT department could abuse their access to track employee location, or peer into the private lives of people without them ever knowing it is happening. There’s essentially no way for you to see who has access to your data, or whether or not it’s been viewed.”

    “ The most powerful thing you can do to protect yourself in the first place might mean keeping your work email off your own phone and demanding a work-provided one. ”

    https://onezero.medium.com/dont-put-your-work-email-on-your-personal-phone-ef7fef956c2f

    Liked by 1 person

  6. It has always puzzled me why a person would allow their employer to have any access to their personal cell phones. It is not that difficult to carry 2 phones – with the added bonus of turning the company phone off after hours.
    Equally as mystifying is why employers allow it – how do you think ransomware attacks get in??!!

    Liked by 1 person

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