Did you know that over 89% of laptop and desktop users have security software installed on their computers, but only 14% of smartphone users do? Why is that? Discrepancies like that make smartphones a thief’s goldmine- full of unencrypted personal information and ripe for the picking. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself.
Record your phone’s identity number in case it is stolen – The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is what identifies your phone to the network and is located on the back of your phone underneath the battery. Make sure you keep this information so that you can report it to the police.
Secure access to your smartphone and voice mail – PINs and passwords can be a pain as they put a barrier in the way of things you do repeatedly. Don’t choose obvious PINs: for example, 3333, 1234, dates of birth and so on. Make use of the handset locks to protect your data and messages.
Learn how to remotely lock and/or wipe your phone if you lose it – Many handsets are now capable of running applications which allow you to stop someone getting access to your data and, if you’re sure you can’t get it back, to delete your data. Some services can even help you locate your lost phone by using the GPS function of the device to find out where it is.
Be wary of Wi-Fi hotspots – However attractive it may seem to connect to free Wi-Fi when you’re out and about, take a second to consider who is providing that service and why. By connecting to an untrustworthy network, you could possibly allow an attacker to get into your accounts for social networking sites, your email and even your bank account.
Know what you are giving applications authorization to do – Always think about what an application is supposed to be doing, where it came from, and who made it. Read the permissions that an application demands before agreeing. A common trick hackers use is to create a fake copy of a real application and host it on an alternative, unmonitored app store. This might be free to entice people to download it.
Be careful when clicking on links and scanning bar codes – Don’t be lured into clicking on a mysterious link to a web page. A phone’s screen is much smaller and it is often more difficult to see a full link to a website and make sure that it is what it says it is. New technology allows bar code scanner applications to read 2D or Quick Response (QR) codes (they look kind of like square bar codes). These are often put in newspapers and on advertising boards. Do you know and trust the source?
Always backup your data – Take a little time to think about what would happen if you lost your phone, phone numbers and photographs and how it would affect you. Take a few minutes to make a backup in a secure location.
Be careful when charging your phone on someone else’s computer or at a charge point – Be very cautious if you desperately need to charge your phone while out and about. A lot of phones combine a data connection with the charger so you could end up having your data stolen without even knowing it. And who is providing the service?
There you have it, eight ways to keep your phone and data safe. Don’t be foolish, take some precautions. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure that you keep your smartphone somewhere safe. Never leave smartphones in your car or unattended. By reducing the opportunities a thief has to get to your phone, you reduce the risk of your phone being stolen or illegally used.