Securing Mobile Devices

Throughout the Silicon Valley and beyond, people are using smartphones and tablets to work, connect and shop anywhere, anytime. Mountain View’s Google Android and Apple’s iPhone and iPad devices are among the most popular. Yet all mobile devices are a favorite among hackers and identity thieves for obtaining personal data primarily because many people don’t protect these devices as securely as they do desktop and laptop computers.

It is increasingly critical to keep private information secure and protect mobile devices from being compromised. Below are 14 ways in which to thwart thieves from stealing data from your mobile device.

1. Configure Privacy Settings
Anytime you purchase a new smartphone or upgrade the operating system, be sure to immediately configure all privacy settings.

2. Lock Your Smartphone
Having a passcode to unlock your smartphone makes it that much harder for a thief to access your information. Try to make the code difficult to guess and change it regularly. For those using Apple devices, take advantage of the additional secure offered by Touch ID technology.

3. Install A Tracking App
If a device is lost or stolen, these applications can tell you the location of your phone. They also enable you to delete sensitive information remotely so it hopefully won’t fall into the wrong hands. Find My iPhone is one of the most used tracking apps for Apple devices.

4. Back It Up
Make certain you have access to all critical files and data by backing up the data on your smartphone on a regular basis.

5. Disable Automatic Backup Settings
With the proliferation of cloud technology, there are applications that automatically upload data to remote servers. It is best to disable these settings, ensuring that data is only backed up to secure locations only accessible by you or someone you authorize.

6. Turn off Bluetooth
Though convenient, Bluetooth technology offers a pathway for hackers. When not in use, it is best to completely disable this function to minimize an attack on your phone.

7. Install Antivirus Or Anti-Malware On Mobile Devices
Malware is becoming more prevalent among tablets and smartphones. Installing layers of protection is a critical step to securing your device.

8. Manage push notifications
Review push notifications for each app installed on every device to ensure sensitive data, such as personal health information, isn’t popping up on your home screen for others to see.

9. Inactivity Auto-Lock
It’s wise to configure all mobile devices to automatically lock after a short period of inactivity.

10. Know about Installed Apps
Never install an application unless it is from a trusted source as they can share personal data ‘behind the scenes’ as well as introduce malware on your phone or tablet.

11. Wireless Proximity Alarms
Mobile devices are ripe for the picking, with thieves swiping them right out of user’s hands. Wireless proximity alarms such as hipKey include an app and a hardware device that sounds an alarm if your phone or tablet gets outside of a preset range of the vicinity device.

12. Use A Personal Firewall
Firewalls are available for mobile devices and can protect interfaces from direct attacks.

13. Wipe & Restore Old Devices
Many of us have a draw filled with old mobile devices. Before selling online, donating or giving to someone else, it is critical to wipe it clean and restore it to factory settings. This generally erases all personal information from your phone’s memory. But, it is always best to do research to determine the best way to discard or clear a device before donating.

14. Keep An Eye Out For Eavesdroppers
Online shopping from our mobile devices is commonplace. It’s incredibly convenient yet it also opens the door to people who will sneak a peek to grab your passwords, credit card information or other personal data. Invest in a privacy screen protector to minimize this issue. Also, be wary of stating any personal information out loud when in an area where others can overhear.

With identity theft affecting one in every four people, securing mobile devices and they information they contain is critical.