Your New Best Friend May Not Protect You

Your mobile phone may arguably be your new best friend. There are few people, places, or things in our lives today that get as many hours of attention as your mobile phone or is with you as often (and for some of us, that means 24/7). Four out of seven people on the planet have mobile phones, because a phone really is a great companion that brings us into contact with all the actual people we love, media that entertains us, music that makes us feel good, and finances that help us eat.

But unlike a German Shepherd, your mobile isn’t exactly a security device. Certainly, it can help you get help, but we often forget that our smartphones are our most personal computer and are usually with us most of the time. Even though we use our smartphones for way more than just calling people, we don’t protect it like we should. Below are some tips from McAfee on mobile security.

Lock it: Configure your phone to lock automatically after two or three minutes, and to require a PIN to unlock. And make sure you’re not using a PIN like 1234 or 1111.

Install trusted apps: Only download from reputable app stores. Third parties are risky. Use crowdsourcing and checking reviews before downloading any app.

Back up: Most smartphones have the ability to back up wirelessly, locally or to the cloud. Just like your computer, it’s good to do this with your smartphone on a regular basis.

Update your OS: Operating system updates are meant to patch vulnerabilities in your OS and allow it to play well with other apps.

No “jailbreaking” or “rooting”: These terms refer to the act of hacking your device so that it can go beyond the intended walls it was designed to stay behind. Those walls offer protection you won’t get otherwise.

Log out: Just like on a PC, before you close that window or walk away from the device, log out of any websites or programs. And remember, don’t “save” your information so that you can automatically log in the next time—if your mobile is lost or stolen, someone else can easily access your accounts or files.

Turn off WiFi/Bluetooth: If you aren’t using wireless services, shut them down. Open, unattended wireless connections are easy targets for criminals.

Don’t get scammed: Any emails or text messages you receive requesting personal information are usually scams. Unless you specifically initiated the conversation, just hit delete.

Don’t click links in emails or texts: Unless I’m expecting an email from a friend, colleague, or company as a result of an action I’ve taken, I don’t click links, since they can often result in your device becoming infected with malware. And it’s much harder to see if a link is not valid from your mobile device vs. your computer.

Install mobile security: Comprehensive security is as important and necessary for your smartphone as for your PC and even your Mac. And don’t forget that just like your computer, you need more than antivirus.

McAfee’s 10 Quick Tips To Mobile Security

You can download these tips in a PDF document to share with your friends and family.

Robert Siciliano is an Online Security Evangelist to McAfee. Watch him discussing information he found on used electronic devices YouTube. (Disclosures)

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