Member Discount Program Tip - Protect Information on Your Smartphone
Protect the Information on Your Smartphone.
Are you carrying a fully-functional computer in your pocket or purse? That could be if you're using a smartphone. Therefore, it's extremely important that you safeguard your smartphone. Here are some tips brought to you by the Center For Internet Security:
First, consider the common risks for smartphones:
Loss of device and information theft. Smartphones are small and can be easily lost or stolen. Unauthorized users may access your accounts, address lists, photos, and more to scam, harm or embarrass you or your friends; they may leverage stored passwords to access your bank and credit card accounts, steal your money or make credit card charges; gain access to sensitive material; and more.
Social Engineering. Whether via text message, image, or application to download, an incoming comunication may be an attempt to gain access to your information. A current example consists of a text message that comes from an unknown number, telling you that if you click on the link provided, you'll have acess to thousands of free ringtones. If this sounds too good to be true, that's because it is. The link is in fact a malicious link. Clicking on it will compromise the security of your smartphone.
TMI (Too Much Information). Guidelines for protecting privacy, safety and reputation when sharing via computers also apply when sharing via smartphones. Mobile devices enable instantaneous capturing, posting and distribution of images, videos and information - it may also broadcast location information.
Public Wi-Fi. Smartphones are susceptible to malware and hacking when leveraging unsecured public networks.
Bluetooth and Near Field Communications (NFC). Risks with using Bluetooth and NFC include eavesdropping, through which the cyber criminal can intercept data transmission, such as credit card numbers. NFC also has the risk of transferring viruses or other malware from one NFC-enabled device to another.
Second, take these simple steps to protect your smartphone:
- Update the operating system. Updates often provide you with enhanced functionality and enriched features, as well as fixes to critical security vulnerabilities. Your smartphone manufacturer should notify you whenever an update is available.
- Use of security software is a must. A key protection is to use mobile security software and keep it up-to-date. Many of these programs can also locate a missing or stolen phone, will backup your data, and even remotely wipe all data from the smartphone if it is reported stolen.
- Password-protect your device. Enable strong password protection on your device and include a timeout requiring authentication after a period of inactivity. Secure the smartphone with a unique password - not the default one it came with. Do not share your password with others.
- Think before you click, download, forward, or open. Before responding, registering, downloading or providing information, get the facts. No matter how tempting the text, image, or application is, if the download isn't from a legitimate app store or the site is a trusted company, don't engage with the message.
- Be cautious with public Wi-Fi. Many smartphone users use free Wi-Fi hotspots to access data to keep their phone plan costs down. As mentioned above, there are numerous threats associated with Wi-Fi hotspots. To be safe, avoid logging into accounts, especially financial accounts, when using public wireless networks.
- Disable Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC) capabilities when not in use. Capabilities such as Bluetooth and NFC can provide ease and convenience in using your smartphone. But, as mentioned above, they also give unauthorized users access to your data. Turn these features off when they are not required.
- Enable encryption. Enabling encryption on your smartphone is one of the best ways to safeguard information stored on the device, thwarting unauthorized access.
- Securely dispose of your device. With the constant changes and upgrades in the smartphone market, many are upgrading their devices on a regular basis. It is important that you wipe the information from your smartphone before disposal. Additionally, make sure SD cards are removed and erased. If you are not redeploying the SIM card to another device, then make sure your personal information stored on the SIM card is erased or destroyed.