Commentary

September 13, 2013

Data thieves use smartphones to gain personal info

Smartphones can perform many of the functions of a personal computer. Keep it secure from data thieves with these tips:

• Set a secret pin and password to prevent unauthorized access to the phone’s home screen to prevent others from using it. Set your smartphone to lock after five minutes when idle.

• Do not modify the smartphone’s security setting. Modifying the built-in security setting is called “jail breaking.” This undermines the phone’s security and it makes the phone easier to attack.

• Back up and secure data stored on your phone such as contacts, documents and photos. Store these files on a computer, removal storage card or in the Cloud, where they can easily be restored if the phone is lost, stolen or erased.

• Only install applications, or apps, from trusted sources after ensuring it is legitimate. Apps downloaded from unreliable sources may contain malware that can and will steal personal information.

• Understand an apps’ permissions regarding personal information or ability to change their performance functions before accepting them. Check your phone’s privacy settings for each app.

• Install security apps that enable remote location and data wiping in the event a phone is lost or stolen. A good security feature available on smartphones is the ability to remotely locate and erase all the data stored on the phone, even if it’s GPS is off. These apps can also help you find your phone.

• Accept smartphone software updates and patches; it needs to be updated and patched to keep it secure and working correctly. Always let your phone provider update your phone.

• Your phone is an easy target for cybercriminals on Wi-Fi networks. Use a phone provider’s trusted Wi-Fi source to reduce the chance of putting data at risk. Never provide login or personal account information on public Wi-Fi networks.

• Wipe personal data and return the old phone to its original factory setting before donating, reselling or recycling it.

• Report a stolen smartphone. The wireless service providers have a stolen phone database. If your phone is stolen, report the theft to your local law enforcement authorities and then register the stolen phone with your wireless provider to allow the provider to prevent the phone from being reactivated and placed back on the cell network.




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