However, the very features that endow your mobile phone with ‘smartness’, make it susceptible to virus attacks and malicious software. If your phone gets lost, or if it is stolen, chances are that your personal details including emails, photos, banking details and passwords are also lost or stolen and your personal identity as well as money might be at stake. Therefore, it is quite essential to ensure that your mobile device is secure. Like they say, a stitch in time saves nine! Here are a few tips that will help you secure your mobile device.
- A password for your phone and a PIN for your SIM card: The biggest mistake that most mobile device users make is to reply on the default factory settings that render the phone vulnerable to malicious elements. These settings should not be relied upon. Instead, putting a password on your mobile phone and a PIN on your SIM card will deny thieves the access to your phone and will prevent them from using your mobile device to make phone calls or using your SIM in other phones. There are a few security settings that can be customized to offer maximum security to your mobile devices. Get familiarized with them and turn them on to make your mobile device safe and secure at all times.
- Setting up the auto lock feature on your mobile device: This ensures that if your phone is not in use for a few minutes, the automatic loc renders it impossible to use without providing the reactivate PIN that you have set for your device. This prevents your phone from being tampered by others and thus keeps your mobile device as well as all the information on it secure.
- Data encryption: Check if your phone allows you to encrypt all the data contained in it using third party software. This will protect your critical data at all times, even when your phone gets lost or is stolen.
- Installing security software: if your phone does not have an anti-virus, firewall, anti-malware or anti-theft software, install one now! While installing security software on your phone, make sure that you choose a reputed brand or provider to ensure maximum protection to your mobile device from virus and other nefarious elements. In fact, you can also check out security software available to secure the operating system in mobile devices and install it on your phone.
- Browsing the Internet on your mobile device: It is a great practice to stay on reputable websites and mobile phone applications. Be wary of visiting web addresses that are unfamiliar and do not get redirected to other websites if you are not sure of their content. Be extra cautious while using Internet banking or other financial mobile applications and use only those websites or apps that are provided by your bank or other financial institution.
- Clicking on unsolicited links: Unexpected links are most popular on mobile versions of social networking sites and personal email service providers. Do not click on them, even when they appear to be sent by your closest friend.
- Using Wi-Fi and Bluetooth with care: Most mobile users leave their Bluetooth on even when it is not in use and make their mobile devices vulnerable to virus attacks and other malicious third party software. It is important to keep the mobile Bluetooth turned off in not in use. Also, when connecting to the Internet through Wi-Fi, use an encrypted network that can only be activated with a password. Do not do internet banking or online transactions in busy areas or over unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Most importantly, steer clear of shoulder surfing and do not allow passers-by to know what you are browsing or typing on your mobile device.
- Do not allow third party access to your mobile device: These include unassigned mobile applications that might access your personal information. Read permission requests carefully before installing new mobile applications or application upgrades, especially those that request for money.
- Back up your mobile data regularly: Set your mobile phone in a way that it backs up all your data automatically when synced. You can also take a manual back-up of all the data on your mobile phone including contact information, banking details, important passwords, etc. on another memory card.
- Delete all personal information before recycling your mobile device: Simply delete all contact information, messages, photos or videos, switch to factory settings and wipe out or remove any memory card inside. This will rid your mobile device of any and all data that can be misused.
- Look for mobile tracking or remote wiping of personal information: this comes particularly handy in situations when you drop your phone or it gets stolen. This will not only help you track where your mobile device is but also in wiping out all critical information stored on your mobile device from a remote location. Ask your mobile service provider for more details.
- Checking your mobile bill regularly: It is a good idea to scrutinize your mobile phone bill and look for any unusual data charges or premium rate calls. If you find any unusual call or data usage mentioned on your phone bill, contact your service provider and report the case immediately.
- Checking for regular updates for the OS of your mobile device and install them as soon as they are available.
Here’s hoping that these tips on how to secure your mobile devices will come handy in helping you use your Smart phones carefully and with utmost peace of mind!
About the author:This article by Frank Johnson is the first from his series on ‘Securing Mobile Devices’. Frank is a regular editorial contributor on technology products, services and best practices that help small to mid size businesses. To know more about Business Safety techniques and strategies, you may interact with him here