Mobile Security

Many people today own mobile computing devices like “smartphones” and tablets to take advantage of portability and “always there” access to computing. No matter what type of system you choose, basic security precautions should be taken to protect your device, data, and online accounts.

Security threats that can affect your mobile device (smartphone or tablet):

  • Loss or theft
  • Malware (viruses)
  • Privacy stealing “good” applications
  • Snooping or access by unauthorized people

Many people don’t recognize that these mobile devices are essentially powerful computers with a small screen. In many cases, the same precautions you would take with a laptop computer apply, but there are some unique factors to consider. The good news is that a few basic security precautions can easily protect you.

Security precautions for Android devices

  • Avoid “rooting” the system. Rooting is a process of modifying the mobile operating system to allow a great deal of customization, but doing so drastically increases the chance of malware threats to your device.
  • Don’t allow your device to install applications from “unknown sources”. This is a setting under “Security” in your device.
  • Install a trustworthy antivirus program, just like you would with your main computer. Once installed, scan your device for viruses on a regular basis.
  • Remove applications you don’t need from the device. Understand and be picky about the permissions an application wants from you. A flashlight application should not access your personal contacts!
  • Set a security lock on the device that is a passphrase or PIN. This will avoid someone simply picking up your device and accessing your information.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t type passwords for your accounts while people may be watching you or looking over your shoulder. Don’t leave your phone or tablet unattended in a public place, even for a minute.
  • Don’t connect to untrustworthy, unknown, or “open” (no security) WiFi networks.
  • Avoid phishing and smsishing.
  • Keep your device up to date with the latest version of the operating system available for your system. Doing this prevents security threats due to software flaws.

Tip: Some applications can allow you to locate, lock, or even wipe clean your mobile device if it’s lost. Apple has a built-in capability, and you may be able to install an application on your Android device to do this. Learn how to do this before your device goes missing!

Security precautions for Apple iOS devices (iPhone, iPad)

  • Avoid “jailbreaking” the system. Jailbreaking is a process of modifying the mobile operating system to allow a great deal of customization, but doing so drastically increases the chance of malware threats to your device.
  • Set a security lock on the device that is a passphrase or PIN. This will avoid someone simply picking up your device and accessing your information.
  • Be aware of your surroundings. Don’t type passwords for your accounts while people may be watching you or looking over your shoulder. Don’t leave your phone or tablet unattended in a public place, even for a minute.
  • Don’t connect to untrustworthy, unknown, or “open” (no security) WiFi networks.
  • Avoid phishing and smsishing.
  • Keep your device up to date with the latest version of the operating system available for your system. Doing this prevents security threats due to software flaws.
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