Improve the Security of Your Mobile Device

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Electronic SecurityMobile devices like smart phones and tablet computers are now by far the fastest growing part of the electronic market. Not only do they hold an extraordinary amount of our personal information, but companies are also starting to use them for advanced technological functions.  For example, credit card companies are beginning to release digital wallets which allow us to use our smart phones rather than plastic cards to pay for goods.  Imagine!  Our phones may replace our credit cards!

It is one thing to lose a credit card.  In the matter of minutes, you can have your credit card cancelled and thus it would be null and void for anyone trying to use it.  But if you lost your phone, imagine the data and information that could be found if it were to fall into the wrong hands.  Plus, it’s not that easy to simply cancel your phone (your data may be cancelled however; your information will remain on your phone).  

Viruses are also becoming more common on mobile devices. A few companies, alarmingly including Facebook, Yahoo and Flickr, admitted that their applications accessed people's text messages. A few third-party applications for iPhones were also discovered to download entire address books to their servers.

Security solutions for mobile devices are, as a result, becoming much more widespread. Here are a few tips that you might want to keep in mind to keep your device secure:

  • The first thing that device owners should do is password protect their device. This is equivalent to typing in a password into windows when turning on a desktop computer. It is even more crucial on a mobile device, however, since anyone can pick it up if you put it down only briefly.
  • Many devices now allow their messages, emails and other files to be encrypted. This means that, even if applications steal some of your data, they wouldn’t be able to read it. So when you choose a mobile device to buy, that might be a good option.
  • Another tip is to give someone the ability to remotely disable the device and/or wipe all the data from it. Internet and telephone service providers often offer this facility as part of their mobile services. If your smart phone is stolen, you will then be able to wipe your personal data from it so that the phone thief cannot access it.
  • There is also software that remotely turns on the device’s GPS (global positioning system) feature, which allows users to track the location of their devices on a website.
  • You should always download essential device updates when they become available. They often contain security updates.
  • Those of us with Bluetooth devices will do well to turn off the Bluetooth feature while it is not in use. If Bluetooth is permanently turned on, which is the default setting on many devices; anyone around us can access our devices.
  • Be weary of Wi-Fi spots.   Not all wi-fi spots are secure, and you may be transmitting data for hackers to see.
  • Look into buying anti-virus software.  Typically they can wipe your device, or temporarily block access remotely until you have the phone back in your hands.