Seven Simple Steps Towards Mobile Phone Security

Most of us now keep our valuable, go-to information in our pockets/purses, within our smart phones.  This includes our photos, contacts information, work documents and even our passwords to access secure sites such as bank accounts.   The more we rely on our smart phones for our daily business, the more exposed we are to the pitfalls of mobile phone security.  So it is very important to keep information safe by taking care of your phone using the following steps – please stay tuned for detailed instructions on each of these steps on this blog.

1. Set a password on your phone

Put a password on your phone and a PIN on your SIM card.  Do not rely on the default factory settings.

Setup your device to automatically lock. If your phone has not been used for a few minutes, it should automatically lock and require a password or PIN to reactivate. 

You can also use an unlock pattern on some phones that is effective in locking the phone.

2. Stay with reputable websites and mobile applications (apps).

Always keep an eye on your commonly used websites’ addresses and make sure you are not redirected or diverted to other websites. ¬†When using any financial mobile applications, such as mobile banking, make sure to only use applications supplied by your financial institution.¬† Do not click on unsolicited or unexpected links, even when they appear to be from friends.

3. Use strong passwords. 

Most users re-use passwords for multiple sites, and many also select passwords that are easy to remember, which often means they’re also easy to crack. ¬†Do not use your child‚Äôs name or your mother‚Äôs maiden name as passwords, because anyone with access to your Facebook account can likely figure out what it is based on your family connections.

4. Be smart with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS

When connecting to the internet using Wi-Fi, use an Wi-Fi network that requires a password. ¬†Avoid online banking or financial transactions in busy public areas and over unsecured Wi-Fi networks. ¬†Turn Bluetooth off when you aren’t using it.

Consider disabling GPS unless you are actively using it.  This broadcasts your location to all location based service companies.

5. Back up your data regularly.

Set up your phone so that it backs up your data when you sync it, or back it up to a separate memory card.  To assist you in case of your mobile theft or loss, ask your provider or manufacturer whether it has services such as mobile tracking and the ability to remotely wipe your information stored on the phone.

Note down the details of your phone in case of theft. Every phone and cellular capable tablet has a unique  International Mobile Station Equipment Identity (IMEI). 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 being used if it is stolen.

Remember it’s not ‘just a phone’.¬† Treat your smart phone like your wallet – keep it safe and on your person at all times.

6. Encrypt your data if you have sensitive information on the phone

This security feature is important if you store your passwords on your smart phone.  Encryption secures your data if your phone is lost or stolen.   However, this feature should be used with caution as it cannot be reversed and can cause the phone to slow down.

7. Do not click on suspicious links on your phone. For example, there are scams where the mail appears to come from a person within your network but has malware that will collect information from your profile.