Protecting Your Phone From Common Wireless Risks

Maribeth WardTech Tips0 Comments

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For nearly two decades mobile phones have been available to most people. The functionality of these devices are like carrying mini computers in our pockets and purses. That’s a lot of information which you need to keep secure and there are many ways to risk losing it

Mobile phones are small and easy to misplace or have stolen. In addition to the cost of replacing one carries the risk of information theft. You don’t want your accounts, address lists, photos or other information to make you or your friends vulnerable. Passwords can be accessed leaving your bank accounts, credit cards and sensitive material vulnerable.

Carrying this amount of sensitive information also leaves you open to being scammed.This could come in the form of a phone call, text message, downloaded image or application that includes malicious links, that are a scam or phishing attempt.

Mobile devices allow us to have instantaneous distribution of information and to broadcast location information. You need to follow regular computer guidelines for protecting privacy, safety and your reputation when using a mobile phone.

Smartphones are also susceptible to malware and hacking when you use unsecured public wireless networks.

Luckily, there are simple steps which can protect your phone and information

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 better functionality and upgraded features, others fix critical security vulnerabilities. Your service provider should notify you whenever an update is available; don’t ignore them
Security software is a must for smartphone users. The mobile malware market is booming. Because few users protect these devices they are particularly attractive to hackers and cyber thugs. The fixes phone manufacturers make to their operating systems do not protect you from other types of malware attacks. The best protection against this is to use mobile security software and keep it updated. Many of these programs can also locate a missing or stolen phone, will backup 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 aware 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, stay away from it.
Understand the terms of use. Some applications claim extensive rights to accessing and leveraging your personal information. If the app wants more access than is needed to run their service don’t use it.
Surf safely. Many smartphone users use free WiFi hotspots to access data (and keep their phone plan costs down), but you can’t 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 members) 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.
Turn off the Wi-Fi. Do you really need it turned on all the time. This not only saves battery power but it also prevents your phone from connecting to rogue WiFi networks and getting your personal information hacked.
Disable geocaching. This is different from application to application. Do you really want everyone to know where you are when you send out a tweet? Google Maps also has this functionality. Each application has a setting or a button you can press to enable or disable this feature. Disable it. It’s not necessary to have it on.
The best phone security is to logout when you are done in an application. For example, banks, websites, twitter, Facebook…anything you can log in with a username and password can easily be logged out. This applies to WiFi as well. When you are not using it–log out.

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