Welcome to the 3rd in a long series of informative and helpful tips to keep you, your family, and your businesses safe in cyberspace.
Today’s topic: Mobile Security
Treat your phone like your wallet
Take account of all your critical information your smart phone holds. We even use smart phones to pay for things with features like Apple Pay and Google Pay. Treat your unlocked phone like a wallet in that you always keep it physically secure.
Keep installing those firmware updates
Firmware updates are your phone’s immune system. When your phone manufacturer or a security researcher discovers a security issue with your phone, the manufacturer writes new code for your phone to fix that issue and provides that to you via firmware updates. Find out how to enable auto-install of firmware updates, or make sure that you’re checking for updates regularly.
Know what you’re giving up for convenience
You can choose when to share your location information. Turning off your location services for the sake of privacy may render an app unable to perform its function. Understandably, you may flip on the location service for that app to be on your way using that app, but consider turning it back off once you’re finished using it. Some phones let you let you enable location services only while using an app.
Using a PIN is convenient enough already
The use of a short numerical PIN to unlock your phone is convenient. Resist the temptation to use some mnemonic pattern for your PIN or an easy to guess one, for example 000000 or 123456. Some phones have an automatic lock-out for too many failed PIN entry attempts, but that’s no reason to make forced entry any easier.
Download apps with careful judgement
Mobile apps are created by a wide variety of developers, from entrepreneurial individuals to full development teams from large corporations. Scrutinize each app before installing it, and be on the lookout for apps that purport to be legitimate but are not. The Google Play Store and the Apple’s App Store both have security screenings for apps, but neither is perfect.
Be aware of the cloud storage supporting your device
Today’s smartphones use cloud storage to keep copies of files like photos and contacts. Think of this as another attack vector for someone to go after the data sourced from your phone. Enable 2-factor authentication to get into this cloud storage account, and use strong passwords to protect it.