It is one of the modern professional’s worst nightmares: your phone has been compromised, giving anonymous hackers access to every shred of information about your business and personal life. Not only is it a violation, but it could also jeopardize your security and that of your clients, contacts, and customers, leaving you open to identity theft. Luckily, there are several simple steps you can take to ensure that your data stays secure. Here is an overview of what you need to know about reducing your risk of getting hacked and increasing mobile device security.
How to Protect Yourself
Mobile phones carry a higher risk of being compromised than devices like tablets or laptop computers because it is almost second nature to carry them at all times, making it easy to leave them behind in public places—especially if you’re a frazzled traveler or you’ve had a couple of “adult beverages”… Here are a few measures you can take to protect your phone and other mobile devices:
- Update Your OS
It’s tempting to ignore the pesky reminders to update your phone’s operating system, especially if you’re in the middle of something important. However, those updates usually include improvements to important security features. For that reason, it is best to plug in your phone and install the update as soon as a reminder pops up. Be sure to clear any space you need if your device’s memory is almost full.
- Back Up All Data
Backing up your data ensures that you will keep all important documents, apps, photos, and videos even if your device is lost or stolen. Simply connect your device to its associated cloud service to automatically back up and encrypt data. If you’re not fully on board with the cloud, be sure to sync files by connecting to a PC or Mac regularly.
- Set Up Remote Wipe
Being able to wipe your phone remotely will provide peace of mind in the event that it becomes lost or falls into the wrong hands. A remote wipe returns your phone to its factory settings, removing saved applications and data. If your data is backed up, you won’t have to worry about losing any apps or files if you have to wipe your device remotely. iPhone users can wipe devices by logging in to their iCloud account. Android users can visit android.com/find and sign in to the Google account associated with the device.
- Be Careful With Third-Party Apps
Avoid downloading apps from unknown sources until you have researched the app and checked reviews from verified end users. Android device owners should stick to apps found on Google Play. Do not download any apps that request an unusual amount of personal information up front, as they could be part of a phishing scam.
- Use Public Wi-Fi Sparingly
Most of us have a finite amount of data, so the desire to use available Wi-Fi networks whenever possible is understandable. Public Wi-Fi is perfectly safe for most casual web browsing; however, if you plan to make purchases or transmit personal data such as banking information, consider using a VPN service to ensure that the information is encrypted, or wait until you are on a secure network.
- Review Security Permissions
Some apps require access to data such as location to function. In cases where this exceeds the device’s basic default permissions, users will be asked if the app may access the necessary information. Be sure you have not allowed apps to access features they do not need, as updates and bugs can lead to security breaches. iOS users can check permissions under Settings > Privacy, while Android users can configure their preferences by going to Settings > Apps & Notifications > App Permissions.
- Be Careful When Charging Your Device
Do not leave your phone unattended when charging it in a public area such as a coffee shop, lobby, airport, or shared office space. According to the U.S. Computer Emergency Readiness Team, you should also avoid charging your mobile device by USB in any unknown computer, as malicious software could be installed without your knowledge.
- Keep Your Phone Locked
One of the most obvious methods of securing your device is also one of the most effective. Using a password or fingerprint/facial recognition to secure your phone provides a level of security that most people are unable to bypass. If you haven’t already done so, set the timer on your password lock to 30 seconds or less. This should give you ample time to open your phone (even if you’re having a groggy morning) while preventing cybercriminals from having infinite attempts to guess your password.
When to Secure Your Device
Generally, it is a good idea to get into the habit of regularly updating your phone and monitoring security permissions. Running a quick check once a week should keep your device safe and let you know if there are any potential problems. That way, you will always be prepared in the event that your phone becomes lost or stolen. There are also circumstances when you should pay extra attention to your mobile device’s security, such as:
If you are planning a business trip or vacation, be sure your phone’s OS is up to date, and all necessary security features are turned on, especially handy applications like Find My iPhone. Losing your phone in a country where you don’t even know the word for “phone” is not an experience on anyone’s bucket list! You should also be sure to charge your phone safely and avoid untrustworthy public networks while on the go.
Before Important Work Events
The last thing you need when you’re at a professional conference, interview or convention is a compromised device you have to wipe. Double check that all important documents related to your work are backed up, and make sure your phone’s security features are up to date so you can focus on putting your best foot forward.
For more strategies to help you maintain security in a changing online landscape, including Mobile Device Management (MDM) solutions that enhance both security and productivity, contact JMARK today. Email [email protected] or call 844-44-JMARK.