What you don’t know about your mobile technology can harm you–and your organization–warned a long-time federal intelligence executive now helping the U.S. Army’s leading logistics provider.

That was the impetus behind a new seven minute video developed for the 70,000 employees of the Army Materiel Command, but which offers a primer for virtually anyone using a mobile smart phone or laptop for work.

Four out of ten working adults now use their personal mobile devices as their primary work device, according to technology security giant McAfee.

The video highlights the risks that mobile workers increasingly take by failing to take minimal steps to protect their equipment from the steady advances of hackers, said Richard Russell, who leads and manages the intelligence and security organization of the largest command in the U.S. Army, responsible for logistics and supplies.

One third of (data) breaches come from laptops falling in the wrong hands.

Various studies cited in the video remind employees-and consumers more generally-that:

  • 84% are unaware device can transmit confidential data w/out knowledge
  • 74% do not consider their mobile device is at risk
  • 51% use no password lock
  • The steady advances of hacker tools have changed the nature of the mobile threat space.

The video describes some of the ways hackers are exploiting their personal devices, and steps users should take to reduce the risks many of them unwittingly face.

“Most people won’t be sitting in an office but wandering around with portable devices,” said Russell. “When we look at that environment, we have to think about it,” and look for better ways to secure it.

Russell, a former Army intelligence officer who was instrumental in the founding of the Department of Homeland Security, was speaking earlier this month at a Government Technology Research Alliance conference.

Dara Murray, a director at the Department of Health and Human Services for information systems security, said she is sharing the video with employees at her agency.

One third of (data) breaches come from laptops falling in the wrong hands.”

That’s one reason why she, Russell, and other federal information technology executives are looking at new methods for having more information reside remotely, rather than on mobile devices themselves, users can see the data during controlled sessions, but after the sessions are over, the data can be wiped clean from mobile devices.

“Moving data to the cloud would help avoid such losses,” said Murray.

Russell emphasized, as does the video, that social media and financial applications are among the most heavily exploited by hackers to trick users into sharing information that can compromise their accounts, or worse, introduce malicious software into the enterprise systems of their organizations.

The video also informs viewers about specific types of malicious software that hackers use to spy on mobile device users, capturing their key strokes, listening to their conversations, and exploiting other vulnerabilities.

Users are urged:

  • Use a pass code lock on their device.
  • Limit the amount of personal information kept on their device
  • Turn off GPS tracking applications.
  • Update the phone’s or device’s operating system software regularly
  • Uninstall unused applications
  • Be cautious of using public wifi spots.

The future for managing mobile devices, said Russell, is one where there is “maximum feasible centralized control and maximum decentralized execution.”