Most of us depend on our smartphone and internet connection to stay productive at work and stay in touch socially, but have you ever wondered if your smartphone is a target for cybercrime? Unfortunately, most people minimize the importance of good security practice. In 2017, over 1.5 million new incidents of mobile malware were detected by McAfee Labs. Our smartphones provide so much technology convenience, but can also be used against us if we are not careful. This is why it is important we stay aware of the latest security threats to avoid becoming a victim. It all starts by using some simple “mobile hygiene” practices.
With the holidays closing in, cybercriminals are on the lookout for easy targets to steal your information. Use these simple steps to defend yourself and avoid becoming a victim!
- Lock your screen using PIN, password and/or fingerprint security. According to a 2017 study by Pew Research, only one-in-five smartphone owners say they use a screen lock for their phone.
- Never leave your smartphone unattended. Set the screen lock timeout feature to 30 seconds or less.
- Backup any personal information on your smartphone to a secure location of your choice – automatically to the cloud or at home.
- Avoid storing sensitive information on your smartphone.
- Disable Bluetooth and NFC payment settings when not in use – these services can be used to hijack your connection, camera, or steal your contacts, photos and other financial data.
- Avoid using public wireless whenever possible and turn off automatic Wi-Fi connections – these connections make it easy for cybercriminals to snoop information.
- Encrypt your smartphone – data that you make unreadable will not be useful if you lose your device.
- Consider enabling available remote wiping features – some smartphones offer features to remotely wipe your phone once the device is connected to the internet.
- Only install apps from trusted sources. Read the fine print before taking any action.
- Install trusted security software – this can help prevent and detect malicious files on your smartphone.
- Keep an eye on those privacy settings – certain apps can change the security settings if we do not pay close attention.
- Keep your smartphone updated. If a patch becomes available, install it sooner than later.
- Be wary opening links sent by email or text messaging – social engineering scams are on the rise and aim to trick you into installing their malware.
You will always be the greatest line of information defense and using technology wisely.