As the mobile device industry continues to boom, we should all take a moment to make sure our devices and personal information are secured from threats.
Here are some basic steps to get you started:
Smartphones need to be updated when security fixes are developed
. Though basic phones generally don’t get updated, smartphones are essentially computers and they may need updates. While some updates simply provide you with cooler functionality and upgraded features, others fix critical security vulnerabilities that you do not want to be exposed to. Your service provider should notify you whenever an update is available; ignore these at your own peril.
Security software is a must for smartphone users.
The mobile malware market is booming -and because few users protect these devices they are particularly attractive to hackers and cybercriminals. The fixes phone manufacturers make to their operating systems do not protect you from other types of malware attacks. The only protection against these is to use mobile security
software and keep it up to date. Many of these programs can also locate a missing or stolen phone, will back up your data, and even remotely wipe all data from the phone if it is reported stolen.
Minimize losses and avoid intrusions with a secure PIN.
Be conscious of where you place your phone and always secure it with a unique
PIN or password – not the default it came with. Then don’t share your PIN or password with others.
Think before you click, download, forward, or open.
Before responding, registering, downloading or providing information, get the facts. Go online to check for scams, look up the company or sender, search for hidden fees or reports of malware associated with the company or sender, and independently verify any claims. No matter how tempting the application, if the download isn’t from an app store or the site of a trusted company, walk away.
Some applications claim extensive rights to accessing and leveraging your personal information. Walk away if the app wants more access than is needed to run their service.
Many smartphone users use free WiFi hotspots to access data (and keep their phone plan costs down), but you cannot know if that network is safe or compromised so avoid logging into accounts, especially financial accounts when using public wireless networks.
Backup your phone’s information.
How many friend’s (or family member’s) phone numbers do you actually know? For many users, the only source of contact information for people is stored on their cell phones. This makes the loss of a phone painful and potentially hazardous. By backing up your data you ensure you have it – even when you don’t have your phone.
What steps do you follow to stay safe from threats? Reply to this thread and let us know!