Take Note 5 Tips for Mobile Security

By Lisa Shorr

‘Tis the season for summer vacations! Textbooks tucked away and school buses toting kids to camp programs instead of school! Families venturing out to spend relaxing time at the beach or jet set to destination hot spots! Time away from structured environments such as the classroom or workspace often leads to increased usage of our mobile devices. Watch out: Hackers are ready to take advantage of this opportunity to steal your data! Even though school is out, it does not mean our education must come to a halt too.

Last summer many celebrities such as Jennifer Lawrence and Kate Upton had quite the shock when their phones were hacked and compromising photos were released to the public. Think about what is on your phone. Banking information, passwords to various programs even private photographs. All of this is valuable and profitable information that can be sold on the black market. A good rule of thumb to follow: Remember your phone/tablet is not as private as you think.

So what lessons can be learned from all of this? Here are 5 tips to take note of:

1. Passcode Protection: A passcode for logging into your phone will help prevent unauthorized access to your information. Be sure to change this regularly, every 90 days is our recommendation.

2. Update Device Software: Like your computer, it is imperative to update your phone/tablet’s software too. While this is not a 100% guarantee, it will protect  against known threats that a hacker uses to gain access to your device.

3. Be aware of “Public Wi-Fi or Hotspots”: We all love the freedom of working from Starbucks or Panera Bread. As a convenience, these locations offer FREE Wi-Fi for guests. Be leery of hopping on to these and thinking your data is safe. A hacker could easily be lurking in the background waiting to see your bank account password or grab your contact list. It’s better to use a 4G cellular Hotspot instead. Hotspots are built into most phones.

4. Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth: Don’t make it easy for hackers to access your device. Turn off your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not in use. Incidentally, this will also save battery life. Proactive actions now can prevent problems later. My goal is to turn this tip into a habit. You should too!

5. Turn on Remote Wipe: What if you lose your phone or worse, it is stolen? Turning on the “Remote Wipe” feature on your device allows you to perform a “factory reset” by erasing all of your data and bringing it back to its original state. For Apple’s iPhone & iPad use Apple’s iCloud service. Google Apps has an Android solution too.

The lesson to be learned is that we now need to treat our mobile devices with the same security mindset as we do our computers. Hackers are always going to push their limits. Be prepared! This is one test you do not want to fail.

Have a fun, safe and secure summer!

Lisa Shorr, Secure Future Tech Solutions

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Avatar About the Author: The Rhode Island Small Business Journal is a printed monthly magazine and an online resource for the aspiring and start-up entrepreneur and small business owner.

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