We always talk about protecting your computers and servers from outside threats, but what about protecting your smartphones? There isn’t much difference between a smartphone and a computer. They both function in very similar ways with access to a variety of apps, social media, and browsers. Your smartphone could hold much more valuable data than just contacts or text messages.
Fortunately, the average smartphone owner can take some steps toward protecting their data. Here’s a list of steps you can take to prevent your data from being stolen right from under your nose.
What’s My PIN Again?
More than half of the smartphone users in the United States don’t set up passwords or security measures on their phone. Anyone can access a phone they find lying on the ground, especially if there isn’t a passcode, or even a PIN. Make sure you use a code that’s not easy to guess, or use pattern lock, a security measure which makes the user swipe a certain pattern on the screen before the phone is unlocked. You can also set up a SIM card lock, which will prevent someone from just taking the SIM card out of the system and installing it somewhere else.
Autoconnect? Why Not AutoProtect!
Most smartphone owners will agree that data plans are expensive and their browsing speed could be a bit faster. This is why many people opt for the autoconnect feature, which allows smartphones to connect to a wireless network in the vicinity. Any device that can send and receive data can have a potential security problem, and smartphones are no different.
That puts this data at risk of being compromised. You might connect to a network you don’t want to be involved with, like an “evil twin” hotspot. These wireless connections might seem like legitimate connection spots, but in reality, they are only a connection put into place so hackers can steal your information. If you accidentally connect to one of these with autoconnect, be wary of the questions your connection might ask. If it requests any personal information, it is likely a trap, and you should disconnect immediately.
Bluetooth Got You Feeling… Blue?
Even though Bluetooth has a much shorter range than WiFi does, hackers are a crafty bunch. They’ve found ways to completely take over your phone, if they can get within range of your Bluetooth signal. These hackers can then proceed to make calls, listen to your conversations, access the Internet, and most important of all, access your data. You can prevent this by setting your default Bluetooth configuration to “non-discoverable,” meaning that any devices in range of your smartphone will not be able to detect it. You should be especially careful around busy places with lots of activity, such as coffee shops or train stations, and ignore any unknown requests from devices you don’t recognize.
Be Wary of New Apps
You know how excited you can get when dealing with a new app, especially if it’s one that you have been trying to find for a long time. In that blissful rush, pay close attention to what your brand new app is asking you to do. Pay close attention to what permissions you are allowing it, and pay especially close attention to whether it asks for personal information or not.
Additionally, be careful while wirelessly accessing the Internet with your smartphone. It works just like a computer – if the URL displays “http” rather than “https://”, do not enter personal information into the website. This means that it is not encrypted, and your data could be at risk if you are not careful.
Many companies use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to connect to a secure environment. If you would like to learn more about getting a VPN set up, contact PACE Technical Services at 905.763.7896. We’ll figure out what the best solution is to your smartphone security needs!