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Smartphones – How to make them secure

Posted in Best Practices, Suchitra's Posts, Tips and Tricks

We we use the wonderful gadget known as a Smartphone for just about everything. This means we are increasingly exposing ourselves to numerous security hazards. If you thought spyware, viruses and phishing were only targeting computers and laptops, add your Smartphone to that list.

Some of the features that make your phone “smart” also make it vulnerable to viruses and other malicious software, and of course, to hackers. If your phone is lost or stolen, you are susceptible to the wrong people having access to your personal information, banking details, passwords, sensitive business information, your money and even your identity.

Here are a few tips for protecting the valuable information stored on your phone.

Password Protect your Phone: If you have anything on your phone that you don’t want a stranger to have easy access to, then you should password protect your device. Cell phones are one of the top 10 items that tend to be misplaced, lost or stolen. Even leaving your phone on your office desk or at a restaurant leaves you exposed to security issues. It takes seconds to set up a password and is the first line of defense to protect your phone. Another smart tip is to set your device to lock automatically after it’s not in use for a set period of time. You will be required to enter your password to regain access but that is a small step to keeping your information safe.

Be smart with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are very handy, but when it’s not required it invites unwelcome remote connections. It’s better to turn it off when not in use. You will find this option in the Settings menu of most phones. It’s a small inconvenience to have to turn it on and off, but on the plus side, you’ll save some battery life along with securing your phone.

Back-up your Data: Most phones have back-up features to keep your data available in the event your device gets lost or is stolen. Keep the system containing the back-up secure otherwise the whole purpose of taking this step is defeated.

Be Selective: Though convenient to have these things at your fingertips, store as little personal information as possible on your smart device. Also be careful as to what apps you install on your phone and how you use them. Apps are very convenient tools that enhance the capabilities of your phone, but apps can disreputable and will steal data if not encrypted properly.

Plan Ahead: Every phone has its own unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). This is a good number to have noted and kept someplace safe. Most phones allow you to find out your own by keying in *#06#. Knowing this number will help your network provider to stop your phone from being used if it has been stolen. If you lose your phone or it is stolen, report it to your network company immediately so it can be disabled. They can re-enable it for you as soon as it is found. Also ask your provider if they offer services such as mobile tracking or the ability to remotely wipe the data off your phone. You can also consider installing an app that allows you to find, lock or wipe your phone remotely in the event it’s lost or stolen.  Some reliable apps are Find my iPhone (for iPhones), Lookout, Lost Phone or Autowipe.

And last but not the least -

Monitor your Phone bill: Your phone bill is a good indicator of any signs of trouble. Look out for sudden large increases in your bill. Another place is to check for messages in the sent folder that you did not send. If you notice these things, contact your service provider for instructions on how to identify and remove malicious software.

You will find a host of other tips at the following links:

http://www.rd.com/advice/saving-money/5-simple-steps-to-keep-your-cell-phone-secure/  

http://www.staysmartonline.gov.au/home_internet_users/Secure_your_mobile_phone_and_devices

http://blink.ucsd.edu/technology/security/mobile-security.html

 

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Posted on by Suchitra Kamath