Tips for Mobile Security

Smartphones and mobile devices are convenient and easy to use, but pose a potential security threat for the same reasons. Here are some best practices for securing your device.
  1. Secure your mobile device with a password and set it to lock automatically.
    A strong passcode is the best protection, but four-digit PIN codes also work. Always set your device to automatically lock on the shortest feasible setting. A passcode can’t do its job if your phone is always unlocked.
  2. Install security software on your device.
    Just like computers, smartphones need security software to protect them.
  3. Don’t save passcodes in your device.
    It may be tempting to keep track of passwords on your mobile phone, but this can quickly put you at risk if your phone is compromised.
  4. Turn off your device’s automatic Wi-Fi connection.
    An automatic connection may blindly link you to unencrypted access points, compromising the security of your information. Only connect to secure Wi-Fi networks and disable Wi-Fi when not in use.
  5. Encrypt your mobile device.
    This will make sure that your information is safe even if a thief makes it past your passcode.
  6. Only download apps from approved sources.
    Read user reviews of apps before downloading to scan for security concerns, or download from strict sources like Apple’s App Store, the Google Play Store or the Amazon App Store for Android.
  7. Be aware of what permissions your apps have.
    Many apps will require more than default permissions to properly function, but apps do not need unlimited access to your device and data. Be wary of apps that ask for unusual permissions for their function. Keep track of what apps have access to your device.
  8. Practice safe communication.
    Do not blindly click on links sent by email or text message. Your phone is just as much at risk as your computer. Do not respond to texts from unknown sources—this can let hackers know they have found a target.
  9. Promptly install updates.
    Operating system updates often contain patches for vulnerabilities in the system, so it is important to install them in a timely manner. Be sure to also install updates for apps.
  10. Switch off Bluetooth and near field communication (NFC) when not in use.
    Leaving these on may give hackers access to your device and data. Set your device to undiscoverable to be invisible to unauthenticated devices.
  11. Do not jailbreak or root your device.
    This removes the manufacturer’s malware protection and may make you especially vulnerable to hackers.

Treat your mobile device with as much care as a computer to maintain a safe mobile environment.