Mobile Device Security

Mobile Devices are becoming a part of peoples everyday lives. Many of us use our mobile devices to view bank account information, pay bills, browse the internet, and social media. Our mobile devices can also be used to store personal information like photos, videos, emails, and text messages. It’s important that we protect this information to prevent unauthorized users from accessing the information.

Use Built-In Safety Features

  • Password-protect your mobile device with a complex password, PIN, or security pattern.
  • Set your phone to automatically lock after a few minutes of inactivity.
  • Enable location applications (apps) for your phone such as “Find my iPhone” or find your Android device.
  • Enable remote wipe.
  • Set your device to erase itself after repeated failed login attempts (for example, erase device after 10 failed login attempts).
  • Disable lock screen features and unnecessary notifications — Some phones allow you to read notifications like text messages and emails from the lock screen. Disable these features so unauthorized users can’t read personal information from the lock screen.
  • Display a “call if found” phone number.
  • Use your phone’s built-in firewall or access control functionality

Keep Your Software Secure

  • All device software and installed apps should be regularly updated. Sync/check for updates frequently and install updates when they are available.
  • Use antivirus software.
  • Don’t root/jailbreak your device — This defeats built-in software safety features.
  • When installing an app, ensure it comes from the official app store for your device:
    • Apple App Store
    • Mac App Store
    • Google Play Store
    • Windows Store
    • Windows Phone Store

    Do not install software from unknown sources as they may contain malicious software.

  • Scrutinize and scan apps before installation.
    • Review the app’s privacy policy before installing software, as many apps collect and share information about you.
    • Ensure that the app that you are downloading is not asking for more permissions than it requires. Consider using an alternative app, if the app requires more permissions that necessary.
    • Check the app’s security settings.
    • Disable or uninstall apps and plug-ins that you don’t actively use.
    • Sync or back up your data regularly.

Watch Your Wi-Fi

  • Configure your connection settings to “ask to join” wireless networks.
  • Disable wireless connectivity when you’re not using it (e.g. Bluetooth, NFC, Wi-Fi) — It reduces the risk of your phone automatically joining any wireless network without your consent, and it saves your battery!
  • Do not access regulated data or use services such as banking and shopping when using public Wi-Fi.
  • Turn off location tracking services such as GPS and geotagging when you’re not actively using them. These services can inadvertently allow your location to be tracked without your knowledge.
  • Look for web addresses that begin with “https” and have a lock icon in the web address or status bar, which means the site is verified and encrypted.
  • Set your web browser to block pop-ups and limit the cookies it accepts.

Defend Your Data

  • Delete/destroy all data before selling, donating, exchanging, or discarding your mobile device.
  • Immediately report lost or stolen devices to the appropriate authorities.
  • Don’t click on links that arrive via text or email. If possible, use your phone’s link preview feature.
  • Beware of phishing: Don’t open files, click links, or call numbers from unsolicited emails, text messages or IMs. Report suspicious emails, calls, or texts to the appropriate authorities. To learn more, see our article about phishing.
  • Limit the amount of personal data you store on your device; do not store or transmit regulated data on your device unless it is encrypted.
  • Disable auto-login and username and/or password auto-fill features.

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