If you were given the task to look up a phone number, call a business, and navigate to the new-to-you area, would you be able to without your smartphone? For some of us the answer will still be yes, for a vast majority, the answer is no. Smartphones have quickly transitioned from a calling device, to one of our most valuable tools. Shopping, navigating, video streaming, and an unbelievable amount of other capabilities are all at the palm of your hand.
However, do you know what else is in the palm of your hand? Passwords, credit card information and personal information. Being sure your smartphone is protected is entirely dependent on how you are using it. Today, we will go over tips to ensure you, your friends, and your business are not going to fall victim to a mobile device threat.
While this might seem like an obvious statement, you need to lock your device. A large amount of smartphone users don’t have password protection, which makes them an easy target. Sure, your friends might take ridiculous pictures if you leave it unlocked; but what would a cybercriminal do? Passcodes are an excellent first step to securing your device. Modern devices now let you skip the task of entering a passcode, utilizing fingerprint scanners as well as facial recognition technology.
Everything is going or has gone wireless. If there is currently a cord attached to it, you better believe someone is working towards removing it yet maintaining device functionality. Wireless headsets, internet, chargers, mice, keyboards -- all without a cord. While it may be more convenient for you, it is also much more convenient for criminals. You wouldn’t leave your removable hard drive laying around with a USB cord in it, waiting to be plugged in somewhere unbeknownst to you. So, why leave your smartphone able to be connected via Bluetooth, NFC communications, or even Wi-Fi?
Deactivating these device capabilities greatly reduces your chance of being targeted.
Notice when there is an update for your device -- it says update required. Not update advised, or optional… but required. The main reason these updates or patches are released is to stay ahead of cybercriminal activity. By the time a cybercriminal is able to scheme a way to infiltrate your device, phone providers already have negated their progress with an update.
Neglecting to update your device in a timely manner greatly increases vulnerability.
There has probably been a time when you have downloaded an application, and granted that application permissions. While some of us might not even look at what we are agreeing to, others can’t help but notice the vast amount of access an application such as a flashlight or a game requires. Why does a flashlight app need my contact list, or access to my microphone?
Applications tend to request further permissions than they actually need to target you. They often sell this information to advertisers, and target you with your favorite brands. Learning who you are is important for these advertisers. So, unless you enjoy being spammed with ads, sometimes it is best to delete that old app you don’t use anymore.
Messaging applications are no different than email. If something looks suspicious, don’t open it! Attachments are often used to deliver mischievous programs to a victim. Keeping the same best practice mindset when using your smartphone as you normally would when navigating emails will greatly reduce your risk of falling victim.
Following these simple tips will help keep your smartphone secure. If you would like more information on how to defend yourself and in turn, your business; reach out to the experts at Managed IT Force. Give us a call at 724-473-3950 today.
Dan has 25 years of progressive experience in the IT industry. He has led three successful companies focused on small and medium business IT solutions since 1997.