Smartphone Security – Protecting Your Information

iphoneThe growing use of smartphones have opened new security problems for millions of users. A recent survey found that 7% of smartphone users have experienced incidence of identity theft. This rate is about 30% higher than the rates experienced by the general public.

Experts agree that consumer behavior is the culprit because automated security measures are more advanced for personal computers and require less action on the part of the user.

In other words, to protect yourself when using a smartphone you must be more security pro-active. Here are some security tips for you and your children when it comes to smartphone security:

  1. Always update to the most current operating system to take advantage of new security measures and patches.
  2. Always use a passcode on your home screen to protect your information in case your phone is lost or stolen.
  3. Never save login information on your smartphone to prevent unknown access. This is important if your phone is left “on” where someone can quickly access it from a desk or purse without you knowing.
  4. When choosing a smartphone consider security features. Things you should ask your service provider about include file encryption, remote kill switch or remote wipe capability and authentication passcode systems.

After purchasing a smartphone you should immediately “secure it” using all these features:

  • Setup the main password so your phone is locked unless the correct code is entered. And make sure the password you use is not something easily guessed!
  • Enable all security features including file encryption, remote kill switch, antivirus software and “HTTPS” or “SSL” options for all websites transmitting personal and/or financial information.

To enhance security measures further you should follow these additional tips:

  • Disable all communication interfaces and only enable them when you need to. These would include bluetooth, wi-fi and infrared capabilities.
  • Make your phone invisible to bluetooth attackers by setting it to “non-discoverable” mode.
  • Be very selective about the apps that you upload and install. Do some research and be wary of apps that go overboard on the permissions they require. Many apps can contain malicious code that can trick you into entering financial information, send personal information to identity thieves and even send SMS text messages that you will be charged for. BE CAREFUL WITH APPS!
  • You should avoid joining unknown or public wi-fi hotspots. These areas attract hackers probing for unsecured devices or who create phoney wi-fi networks.
  • Lastly, you should always delete information stored on your phone before you discard it or sell it. Check with the manufacturer’s website about the proper way to do this.

To sum up, your smartphone is really only as smart as you are when it comes to security. You can be easily hacked and have your identity harmed without taking the proper precautions and actions.

Unfortunately, nothing is 100% foolproof when it comes to protecting your identity. The best course of action for you to avoid severe damages from identity thieves is to employ early detection warning systems. When caught early enough damages are held to a minimum and recovery time is faster and easier.

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