Lets talk! How to protect your mobile phone
There are numerous factors that contribute to weak mobile phone security, the obvious one being that phones are much easier to be misplaced, lost or stolen. Mobile phones go with you everywhere which means there’s more potential for leaving them behind. Once a criminal has physical control over your phone it’s often not too difficult to gain control of it's data. Other factors include the validity of third-party apps and that users don’t update their operating systems to install up to date security patches and fetures. Also like your laptop mobile phones are vulnerable to social engineering in the form of social media scams and phishing.
So what does this mean for mobile phone users?
It means that it’s even more important to stay vigilant about cybersecurity when using a mobile device. Here are some ways you can protect yourself, your data and your phone*:
- Secure your devices with a strong password, pattern, or biometric authentication: Ensure you have a strong PIN (Min 6 digits)
- Unlock pattern: Some mobile devices let you set unlock patterns that function like PINs. Use a pattern with some complexity (e.g., with at least five points), keep it secret, and protect it from observers. Additionally, be aware that smudges on the face of your device may reveal your pattern to unauthorized users.
- Enable automatic locking: 30 seconds or less
- Configure remote tracking and data deletion to protect your information from loss or theft: You can often also use remote wipe to find your phone’s location.
- Note: When you use the auto-wipe option, make sure to back up your data regularly. Consult your device's documentation for instructions on backing up data.
- Encryption: Certain handheld devices are capable of employing data encryption. Consult your device's documentation or online support resources for information about available encryption options.
- Install system updates often: When that pop-up reminder comes up, don’t ignore it. Charge your phone, clear out some space, and install the update right away.
- Avoid third-party apps: If you’re on an iPhone, you don’t have much of a choice. However, for Android users, staying on Google Play and not allowing apps from unknown sources keeps you relatively safe. If you do decide to use third-party apps, research to be sure you’re not getting a malicious one. Read reviews, and if the app asks for access to too much personal data up front, don’t download it.
- Be wary of social engineering scams: Cybercriminals love to spoof banking apps, send phony texts meant to collect personal data, and email malicious links and attachments. Just as you do on your computer, view any communications from unknown sources with a careful eye. If it seems fishy, it very likely is.
- Use public wifi carefully: Yes, you don’t want to use up all your data. However, public wifi is inherently insecure, so try not to make transactions or transmit sensitive data while using it. Consider using a VPN service to encrypt data transmitted online.
- Avoid jailbreaking your iPhone or rooting your Android: While the processes are different, the end result is bypassing what phone manufacturers intended (including security protocols) and ultimately weakening the security of your device.
- Download anti-malware for your mobile device: If you do happen to download a malicious app or open a malicious attachment, mobile anti-malware protection can prevent the infection.
*Please consult your mobile phone manual for specific instructions and guidance.