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Ten steps to Smartphone Security 


Smartphones continue to grow in popularity and are now as powerful and functional as many computers. It is important to protect your smart phone just like you protect your computer to avoid growing cyber threats. Mobile security tips can help you reduce the risk of exposure to mobile security threats. 

1. Set PINs and passwords. To prevent unauthorised access to your phone, set up a password or PIN number as a first line of defence in case your phone is lost or stolen, When possible, use different passwords for each of your important log-ins (email, banking, personal sites, etc.).

2. Do not modify your smartphone’s security settings. Do not alter security settings for convenience. Tampering with your phone’s factory settings, jailbreaking, or rooting your phone undermines the built-in security features offered by your wireless service and smartphone, while making it more susceptible to an attack.

3. Backup and secure your data. You should backup all of the data stored on your phone – such as your contacts, documents, and photos. These files can be stored on your computer, on a removal storage card, or in the cloud. This will allow you to conveniently restore the information to your phone should it be lost, stolen, or otherwise erased.

4. Only install apps from trusted sources. Before downloading an app, conduct research to ensure the app is legitimate. Checking the legitimacy of an app may include such thing as: checking reviews, confirming the legitimacy of the app store, and comparing the app sponsor’s official website with the app store link to confirm consistency. Many apps from untrusted sources contain malware that once installed can steal information, install viruses, and cause harm to your phone’s contents. 

5. Understand app permissions before accepting them. You should be cautious about granting applications access to personal information on your phone or otherwise letting the application have access to perform functions on your phone.

6. Use the free, built-in security features (Apple devices). Every iOS device running iOS 7 or later versions comes standard with both Find my iPhone and Activation Lock, features designed to locate and secure your device if lost or stolen. Find my iPhone can locate your device on a map, and Activation Lock can prevent anyone from using the device if lost or stolen. You can also remotely wipe data from the device

7. Accept updates and patches to your smartphone’s software. You should keep your phone’s operating system software up-to-date by enabling automatic updates or accepting updates when prompted from your service provider, operating system provider, device manufacturer, or application provider. 

 8. Be smart on open Wi-Fi networks. When you access a Wi-Fi network that is open to the public, your phone can be an easy target of cybercriminals. You should limit your use of public hotspots and instead use protected Wi-Fi from a network operator you trust or mobile wireless connection to reduce your risk of exposure, especially when accessing personal or sensitive information. 

9. Wipe data on your old phone before you donate, resell, or recycle it. Your smartphone contains personal data you want to keep private when you dispose your old phone. To protect your privacy, completely erase data off of your phone and reset the phone to its initial factory settings.

10. Report a stolen smartphone. The major wireless service providers, in coordination with the FCC, have established a stolen phone database. If your phone is stolen, you should report the theft to your local law enforcement authorities and then register the stolen phone with your wireless provider. This will provide notice to all the major wireless service providers that the phone has been stolen and will allow for remote “bricking” of the phone so that it cannot be activated on any wireless network without your permission.

For more information and resources on mobile security, please visit www.fcc.gov and the Department of Homeland Security's Stop.Think.Connect campaign at www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.

The Money Edge | Bundaberg 

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