As end users
have increased their usage of mobile devices, the number and sophistication of
attacks are also increasing. While I
will focus on protecting your smartphones, you should keep in mind that many of
the items discussed apply to your iPad, tablet and Internet of Things (IoT)
devices, such as wearable technology. It
sometimes appears that product sales outpace security considerations for the
devices and that security is always catching up. Early in the mobile device development, users
would only maintain contact information, photos, calendar and to-do lists on
their mobile devices. Today we take our
PCs with us in the form of a mobile devices and conduct business everywhere we
go. Many users fail to enable basic
security features with these devices and thus leave themselves exposed to
current day attacks. In addition, social
media apps pass a wealth of your personal data into the cloud when you accept
installing the apps of your device. The
following areas should be considered as you expand the use of your mobile
lifestyle and protect your personal identifiable information (PII) in the event
you lose your device.
phones are easy to steal when left, even briefly, unattended. Losing your phone may mean losing all your
data. Never leave your mobile phone
unattended in public, even for a few seconds.
If the security features are not enabled on your phone and websites, a
thief has access to all of your data.
mindful when installing apps or software applications. If the apps are unregulated or if you bypass
operation system security by jailbreaking your device, you could compromise
your device as well as all computers tied to this device.
voice calls (“vishing”) or SMS/MMS messages (“smishing”) are on the rise. These attacks try and trick you into saying a
phrase or word that they can use later for fraudulent services and
charges. You can report these issues to
the Federal Trade Commission and read more about these procedures at
exposure of your mobile phone number and review the security settings on your
social media accounts if you post your number.
Software is available that will collect mobile numbers from these sites to
be used in vishing attacks.
you back up your mobile device to your PC, look for additional protection such
as file encryption and device access password protection.
remote wipe capabilities on all of your devices.
follow links in suspicious emails or text messages. These links may lead to malicious websites.
interfaces that are not in use. This
could include WiFi and Bluetooth to name a few.
Always set Bluetooth to non-discoverable mode when you do not require
this feature. Avoid joining unknown
Wi-Fi networks or public hotspots.
your Apps carefully and always read published reviews before installing the
application. If an App does not have
reviews, this may indicate a risk that the App has just been released. Always purchase your apps from reputable
on Automatic Downloads for updates and Apps to keep your device and software
updated with the latest and greatest features.
all information stored in a device prior to discarding it. Check the manufacturer for information about
securely deleting all data from their devices.
Your mobile phone provider will also have useful information on securely
wiping your device.
quickly if your mobile phone is stolen.
If the device is supplied by your employer, make sure you know who to
contact and what procedures need to be followed. Your employer will have secure measures to
deactivate and disable the device quickly; you should develop a similar plan
for your personal mobile phone. If this
is your personal device, contact your mobile phone service provider as soon as
possible to deter malicious or fraudulent use of your mobile phone. Activate additional mobile features like
sounding an alarm on the phone to locate a misplaced device. Locate your lost phone on a map, but never
try and retrieve the device if the location is unfamiliar or unsafe. If you are backing up your device daily, you
will have minimum loss of data by issuing a remote deletion of all data.
Federal Trade Commission’s website at https://consumer.ftc.gov
for more important information on protecting your mobile phone and other