Do You Know How to Secure Your Mobile Device?

  • Nov 7, 2016
  • Stop.Think.Connect Campaign
Image Do You Know How to Secure Your Mobile Device?

Think about the last time you used your smartphone. Did you check your email? Track your finances? Post a photo or check in to a location? Most likely, making phone calls is just one small part of how you use your mobile phone on a daily basis.

Did you know that 25 percent of smartphone owners say that they mostly go online using their phone, rather than with a computer? Additionally, hundreds of thousands of apps—many of them free—provide tools to use our phones to do everything from ordering take-out food to monitoring your exercise routine. However, the ease and accessibility of computing from your smartphone brings increased risks. We should follow simple tips for safeguarding our phones the same way we protect our computers and laptops.

The Federal Communications Commission’s (FCC) released Smartphone Checker designed to help the many smartphone owners who aren’t protected against mobile security threats. Click here to access the Smartphone Security Checker by completing 10 quick and customized steps to secure your mobile device.

The FCC also offers these simple tips to secure your mobile device:

  • Set PINS and passwords. You should configure your phone to automatically lock after five minutes or less when your phone is idle, as well as use the SIM password capability available on most smartphones.
  • Do not modify your smartphone’s security settings. Altering your mobile phone’s factory settings undermines the built-in security features offered by your wireless service provider and smartphone manufacture making it more susceptible to an attack.
  • Backup and secure your data. Backing up your data such as your contacts, documents, and photos will allow you to conveniently restore the information if it is lost, stolen, or accidently erased.
  • Only install apps from trusted sources. Many apps from untrusted sources contain malware that once installed can steal information, install viruses, and cause harm to your phone’s contents.
  • Understand app permissions before accepting them. Make sure to also check the privacy settings for each app before installing.
  • Install security apps that enable remote location and wiping. Visit CTIA - The Wireless Association® for a full list of anti-theft protection apps.
  • Accept updates and patches to your smartphone’s software. By keeping your operating system current, you reduce risk of exposure to cyber threats.
  • Be smart on open Wi-Fi networks. When you access a Wi-Fi network that is open to the public, your phone can be an easy target of cybercriminals.
  • Wipe data on your old phone before you donate, resell, or recycle it. To protect your privacy, completely erase data off of your phone and reset the phone to its initial factory settings.
  • Report a stolen smartphone. The major wireless service providers, in coordination with the FCC, have established a stolen phone database. If your phone is stolen, you should report the theft to your local law enforcement authorities and then register the stolen phone with your wireless provider.

To learn more about mobile phone security, please visit www.fcc.gov. For more cyber resources and tip, please visit www.dhs.gov/stopthinkconnect.