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How to Protect the Information on Your SmartPhone

posted Mar 18, 2013, 10:31 AM by Andrew Chadick

We've come to depend on our smartphones so heavily it is hard to remember what we did before we had them.
If you have a smartphone, you now carry a fully functional computer in your pocket or purse.
That's a tremendous amount of information at your fingertips. Therefore, it is paramount that you safeguard your smartphone.

Common Risks for Smartphones

Take a moment to consider each of these areas:

• Loss of device and information theft. Smartphones are small and can easily be 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. A common mobile threat is social engineering. Whether via text message, image, or
Application to download, an incoming communication 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 access 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. They may also broadcast location information.

• Public Wi-Fi. Smartphones are susceptible to malware and hacking when leveraging unsecured public

• Bluetooth and Near Field Communications (NFC). Bluetooth is a wireless network technology that uses
Short-wave radio transmissions to transmit voice and data. NFC allows for smartphones to communicate
With each other by simply touching another smartphone, or being in proximity to another smartphone with
NFC capabilities or a NFC device. Risks with using NFC and Bluetooth 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.

Simple Steps to Protect Your Smartphone:

1. Update the operating system. Smartphones are computing devices that need to be updated. 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.

2. Use of security software is a must. As the smartphone market is increasing, so too is the amount of
Malware designed to attack smartphones. The software security solutions that are available for desktops
And laptops are not as widely available for smartphones. 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 back up
Your data, and even remotely wipe all data from the phone if it is reported stolen.

3. 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.

4. 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 of a trusted company, don't engage with the message.

5. Understand the terms of use. Some applications claim extensive rights to accessing and leveraging your
Personal information. If the app requires more access to your account and/or device than is needed to run
The service, do not continue. In addition, be aware that terms can change over time. Review your terms of
Use often.

6. Be cautious with public Wi-Fi. Many smartphone users use free Wi-Fi hotspots to access data (and keep
Their phone plan costs down). There are numerous threats associated with Wi-Fi hotspots. To be safe, avoid
Logging into accounts, especially financial accounts, when using public wireless networks.

7. 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. They can also
Provide an easy way for a nearby, unauthorized user to gain access to your data. Tum these features off
When they are not required.

8. Enable encryption. Enabling encryption on your smartphone is one of the best ways to safeguard
Information stored on the device, thwarting unauthorized access.

9. 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 any 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.