Mobile Security

Mobile Security:

I highly recommend reading Computer Security too, as there are more in depth information there and I don't want to just copy and paste the same information here. Thus, I'll keep this module short and to the point.

Protect your device with a password.
- Install virus protection apps from reputable sources.
- When downloading new apps, examine the permissions the new apps are asking for.
- Always update! Whether it's your phone's OS or other apps.
- Make sure the "lock" symbol is present when entering credentials.
- Log out when you're done banking, shopping, or any other important sessions.
- Before you sell your phone, reset it to manufacturer's settings.
- Don't click on links you receive from text messages when you don't know the sender.
- Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when they're not being used.
- Don't trust public Wi-Fi with banking, shopping, and such.
- Don't save critical information on your phone like SSN.
- Always backup your data!

How can you enhance your mobile device's safety?

  • Make sure you have a password on your smartphone so thieves are not able to access your information if you lose your phone or if it's stolen. If you don't like taking a long time to enter a password, then you can protect your device with a pattern password, as it's much faster to enter.
  • Just like we discussed on the Computer Security module, I highly recommend that you install a virus and malicious software detector. There are many free ones and there is no reason why you shouldn't download one, and be careful when downloading apps. Some of the reputable virus protection apps for your smartphone are: BitDefender, Norton, Avast, KasperSky, and McAfee.
  • Often times you can tell if an app is malicious by the permissions it asks for. For instance, an app that is supposed to be your "to do list" organizer, then it shouldn't ask for Camera Permission, and if it does, then there might be something fishy going on. Keep in mind that sometimes permissions are reasonable considering the many features of some apps. Sometimes you will encounter a simple app that asks for ALL permissions, that's a No Go, at the bare minimum, they will probably be selling information and your surfing behaviors to third parties.
  • A critical point that you should never neglect is updates! Often times updates are for security reasons, where app developers are patching some bugs and security holes. Thus, update your phone's operating system and other apps as soon as possible!
  • When surfing on your phone and before typing your credentials, look for the "lock" symbol in the browser to make sure that it's a secure connection. Take a look at what the symbol looks like in an iPhone device using Safari this example:
  • If you're on your bank's site, shopping online, don't forget to log out when you're done! Hackers can hijack your session on your banking or shopping website which will give them access to transfer money, access your information, and shop on your behalf. That, doesn't sound good!
  • Reset your phone to manufacturer's condition before you get rid of it, or sell it. Here is how you can do the previous on an iPhone device:
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  • Careful with text messages that you get with links inside them, especially if you're being solicited to give information and/or you don't know the sender! Cyber criminals use cellphone spam campaigns to spread links to malicious web pages.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi, and Bluetooth when you're not using them. It limits your risk of getting hacked if cyber criminals can't reach your phone. 
  • Do not trust public Wi-Fi to do shopping or banking. They are not safe for those kind of uses. Instead, do it through your phone's network, and not through the public Wi-Fi. However, don't forget to disable Wi-Fi before doing so as it will keep you connected to the Wi-Fi by default.
  • Don't save private information on your phone. That would include private information like your SSN, and passwords.
  • It doesn't hurt to backup your data from your phone. In case it's lost or stolen, you'll still have your pictures, videos, and other data.