Issue No. 25August 2014
Mobile Phone Safety
Get smart about mobile phone safety
The smartphone is a powerful but vulnerable tool. A stolen phone can result in the loss of extremely sensitive data such as your bank or other online accounts, and even lead to the theft of your identity. Malicious apps can function like a computer virus, stealing personal data and even costing you money by reprogramming your phone to automatically dial premium phone numbers.
Make these six simple practices a habit to help reduce your risk.
- Lock your device with a PIN or Password
- For your PIN, avoid numbers from your birth date, social security or national identification number, phone number, or the like.
- Keep your PIN or password private. Period.
- Enable the feature that erases the phone if someone tries to guess the PIN too many times.
- Use a Phone Finder
Most mobile service providers have an app that helps you find your phone if it’s lost or stolen. This allows you to ring your phone, locate it on a map, lock it, or erase its data, all remotely from your browser (like Internet Explorer or Firefox). Note that this regularly reports the phone’s location-and yours.
- Defend you phone against malware
Smart phones are susceptible to a kind of malicious software (malware) known as a Trojan horse. It hides in a seemingly harmless app like a ringtone or game, but contains hidden code designed to exploit or damage the system; running the app unleashes the malware on your phone.
- Install reputable apps – Download apps only from major app stores.
- Keep your phone up to date – Just as you do on your computer, accept and install all updates offered for both the phone itself and the apps on it
- Don’t jailbreak your phone – Most phones will run only software that their operating system trusts. Jailbreaking (or unlocking) a phone allows it to run untrusted software, which is much more likely to carry a harmful virus.
- Accept incoming content cautiously – Avoid clicking links in ads and contests that promise free prizes or gifts.
- Protect Your Privacy
- Do not bank, shop, or do other email that exposes your user name or password over “borrowed” or public Wi-Fi (like a hotspot). It’s safer to use the mobile phone’s network, which encrypts data as it is transmitted.
- Be wary of features that offer to save user names or passwords in your browser and financial service or other apps that store sensitive data.
- Use GPS features wisely
Many services – weather, movies, and maps, for example personalize results by using location data from your phone’s Global Positioning System (GPS) or nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers. Be aware that this positional data may be shared with the app developer and provide them information about your location.
- Backup your phone
Like with any computing device you should have a plan of action to Back up to data stored on your phone to your computer, a cloud storage service, or both.
If you have questions regarding smart phone safety, please contact our Support Desk.