The ubiquity of internet-connected smartphones and other mobile devices can be a boon to user data privacy. The possible loss and theft of personal data stored in a mobile phone can even be far more devastating than the loss of the actual device.
Safeguard sensitive data in your smartphone by knowing the most common security blunders. Here are four of them.
Suspicious Apps and SMS Text Messages
Be wary of the various ways you can get malicious software to latch on to your mobile device. Think twice before you carelessly open links in spammy SMS text messages. Another risky maneuver that can compromise the privacy of your smartphone data is downloading software from third-party app stores and other questionable sources.
The app stores of Apple and Google have a semblance of screening in place and therefore serve as more reliable sources of malware-free apps. To protect your smartphone data, use reliable app stores only.
Your carrier’s data plan may be too limiting and expensive. To save money, you then resort to the readily available and free public Wi-Fi system. If you carry sensitive information, such as proprietary corporate data, in a smartphone that you also use in the workplace, then avoid connecting to the internet via unsecured or open networks. Such wireless networks make the data in your mobile device especially susceptible to hacking.
Old App Versions
Always use the most recent app versions. When prompted to download updates and security patches, do it right away. Apps that are not up to date may still contain security flaws and code vulnerabilities, which can pose a threat to the sensitive data stored in your mobile device.
Locking down your mobile device by setting up a PIN or a password or using an advanced fingerprint scanner, such as the one on the iPhone 5S, can be your first line of defense in case you misplace your smartphone or if it gets stolen. It is true that PIN or password security methods can be cracked, but at least they provide a mantle of protection while you track down the whereabouts of your device.
Remote wiping and having the smartphone locked locally are your two best allies for protecting the data in a lost or stolen device. If your mobile phone is corporate-owned, for example, report the loss right away because there is a chance your company has the ability to remotely erase the data in it.
By K. Ong