If it’s portable, it is subject to being lost or stolen—and the data contained can be accessed or the applications running may have access to additional information, resulting in your data being compromised. The good news is, you don’t need to be an IT professional to put systems in place, download security programs or create certain habits to protect your device and, inturn, protect your information.
#1 Encryption. Encryption is the process of encoding messages or information in such a way that eavesdroppers or hackers cannot read it, but that authorized parties can. Installing encryption can be as easy as downloading an app or requiring your employer’s IT department to install an enterprise-grade program for its fleet of devices.
#2 Lock it down. If your device is lost or stolen and it doesn’t have a password on it, then all your data and apps are accessible. Most people lock their car doors after they park and secure their front and back doors when they leave the house,but relatively few protect their devices with a password or store sensitive data in a secure locker app like Keeper. This is not complicated.
#3 Install lost/locate/wipe software. Some devices come equipped with this feature; others require a download. Activate this software so the location of the device is turned on and you can find it—and if you can’t, you can lock it and also wipe all the data from it.
#4 Destroy it. This might be a little after the fact, but if you upgrade to a newer device and are left with the old one, you could donate it, give it away or sell it…but I recommend destroying it. I mean, get a hammer and kill it to death. Murder it, because on some devices, even if you wipe them (I’m talking specifically to you, Android), much of the data is left behind.
#5 Use a VPN. Use a secure virtual private network (VPN) such as the free Hotspot Shield VPN proxy that protects your identity by ensuring that all web transactions (shopping, filling out forms, downloads, etc.) are secured through HTTPS.
Robert Siciliano is an Identity Theft Expert to Hotspot Shield VPN. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Identity Was Stolen See him discussing internet and wireless security on Good Morning America. Disclosures.