Smartphone Security in Ten Steps
Mobile devices have become the access point for internet information. Users are less likely to fire-up their computer; instead opting to research and view most information from a smartphone or tablet. The same is true for business owners, mobility is key and many business projects and decisions are completed with information via mobile device. As the popularity of mobile devices continues to rise, so will the prevalence of mobile security threats. Just like with your computer, the threats can be greatly reduced by implementing some simple proactive measures.
- Password protect your device. Prevent unauthorized access by setting up a password or Personal Identification Number (PIN) on the mobile home screen. This is the first line of defense in case the phone is lost or stolen. If possible, use a different password for each log-in to email, banking, and business sites.
- Use the factory settings. Altering the manufacturer’s security settings man be convenient, but jailbreaking or rooting the phone could undermine the built-in security features offered by the service provider. It might also make the device more susceptible to an attack.
- Backup your data. Contacts, documents, photos, or other important files should be stored on your computer or in the cloud. This will allow for a quick restore should the device be lost, stolen, or erased.
- Install only trusted apps. Check the legitimacy of an app by only download from trusted sources, check reviews, and compare the app sponsor’s official website. Apps from untrusted sources may contain malware that can steal information, install viruses, and cause harm to the device contents.
- Review app permissions. Be cautious of granting applications access to personal information or letting the application have access to perform functions on your phone. Check the privacy settings of the app before installing.
- Enable remote location and wiping. An important security feature is the ability to remotely locate and erase all data stored on your phone, even if the phone’s GPS is off.
- Keep current. Check the updates and patches put out by your operating system, it is easiest by enabling automatic updates. Whenever prompted by your service provider, accept and install updates. A current operating system can greatly reduce the risk of security threats.
- Be selective of public Wi-Fi. Allowing your device to access public Wi-Fi will make it an easy target. Limit use of public hotspots and instead use protected Wi-Fi from a network you trust.
- Factory reset old devices before you sell, donate or recycle. To keep your personal information private, completely erase data and reset the phone to factory settings.
- Report a stolen device. Most service providers have established a stolen phone database. Immediately report the loss to law enforcement, and then contact your wireless provider. Once the device is reported as stolen it cannot be active on any wireless network without your permission.