Most people spend hours on their phone every day making phone calls, texting, taking photos, scrolling through social media, checking emails, and even making purchases. Smartphones today hold so much of your life on them: work emails, family photos, phone numbers, personal messages, calendars, passwords, bookmarks, credit card information, location history, and more.
Unfortunately, although we spend so much time on mobile devices, smart phones have the potential to be very insecure. Studies show that around 68% of your digital time is spent on a mobile device, which means that cyber security on your phone is an important consideration.
While mobile phones share the vulnerabilities of personal computers, it’s the attributes that make them so easy to modify, carry, and use that can make them susceptible to a wide range of attacks. According to the United States Computer Emergency Readiness Team (US-CERT), some of the potential attacks on a smartphone can include:
- Malicious software apps that look legitimate
- Legitimate apps that can be exploited
- Phishing attacks
Even accidental loss of a mobile phone can mean that your financial information, personal information, and multiple usernames and passwords are at risk if your phone hasn’t been properly secured. The good news – you can take many small steps to reduce cyber security weakness and make your phone more secure.
Strategies for Securing Your Phone
- Set a good password or pin on your phone that cannot be easily cracked.
- Use the auto-lock feature on your phone to prevent others from easily accessing it.
- Remember basic security tips, such as avoiding unknown downloads and ignoring spam emails.
- Avoid using unsecure Wi-Fi connections, since they leave your phone at risk from hackers. Hackers can distribute malware through unsecured Wi-Fi connections or even stand between you and the connection point so your information is being sent to the hacker. If you have to use public Wi-Fie, avoid accessing sensitive data or using financial information. Whenever possible, use a Virtual Private Network when you’re connecting to public, unsecured Wi-Fi.
- Encrypt your smartphone. This makes everything on the phone unreadable to those who don’t have the passcode for decryption.
- Limit location tracking on your phone, since location logs can give people a lot of details about your life and routines. You can do this by turning off the phone’s “location” function and turning off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when they’re not being used.
- Evaluate apps carefully before installing. Check into the information it collects, the permissions it wants, and make sure the app is trusted. For the apps you do have, control their permissions so apps aren’t accessing information they don’t really need to function.
- Regularly update operating software. New updates contain security updates and help fix any known problems and vulnerabilities, so don’t put off those important updates if you want to keep your phone secure.
Mobile cyber security is important, particularly as the prevalence of mobile attacks increases. Taking measures to secure your device and the information it contains can help you mitigate the many security risks smartphone users face today.
PS LIGHTWAVE is the consultative data-connectivity provider for public and private entities in the Greater Houston area. Through our high-quality infrastructure, innovative technology and superior level of support, we deliver not only the best in connectivity and reliability but in scalability and redundancy. You’ll also appreciate that the PS in our name stands for “Pure Speed.” We fully understand that technology is a moving target, and we understand the people and infrastructure of the Greater Houston area. We are nimble, flexible and responsive, and we embrace leading-edge technologies that improve the customer experience. We invite you to learn more. Visit our website or contact us. Concerned about connectivity? Think PS LIGHTWAVE.