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Is Your Cell Phone Safe?

Mobile Safety is Important Too!

Cell phones have become a major part of our lives and businesses. As more and more cyber-attacks happen each year, cell phones have become the target of these relentless hackers. This is demonstrated by Stagefright‬, the hugely widespread Android vulnerability which Google finally patched in early August. Sea to Sky Technology Services understands the importance of cell phones in our day-to day-lives, so we have compiled some tips to help keep your cell phone safe.

Sea to Sky Mobile Phone Safety Tips | 2015

Important Mobile Statistics

If you’re still not convinced that your phone needs protection, consider these statistics provided by McAfee:

• People are 15 times more likely to lose a mobile phone than a laptop, making loss the biggest threat to mobile users.
• Consumers on average store “digital assets” they value to be worth $37,4385 in their devices, including digital media, professional information, and personal correspondence and photos—yet more than a third lack protection across all of those devices.
• By 2014, mobile Internet use is expected to take over desktop Internet use, which could make mobile devices even more attractive to scammers and cyber-criminals.
• Mobile commerce is expected to reach $31 billion by 2016, making it critical that consumers know how to shop safely from their mobile devices.
• By 2015 there are expected to be 500 million mobile banking users worldwide, making mobile banking safety a top concern.
• Mobile malware aimed at the Android platform alone grew 400% in the six months between June 2010 and January 2011, and no platform is immune.
• 40% of consumers say losing their mobile devices would be worse than losing their wallets, yet they often leave them unsupervised or unprotected.
• More than 50% of smartphone users do not use any password protection to prevent unauthorized access to their device.

Source: http://images.mcafee.com/en-ca/advicecenter/pdf/MobileeGuide_Jan2012.pdf

Mobile Phone Safety Tips

  1. Use a pin, password or pattern to lock your phone. This is a must for your cell phone. For most phones setting this feature up is fairly easy.
  2. Update your software. This one is really important to your phone’s safety. Whether you are running iOS, Android or Windows Phone we will always advise you to grab the latest version of the OS available. There are security and vulnerability fixes that can help keep your phone’s security on the cutting edge.  This can be a little difficult with Android updates often taking a little while to go through manufacturer and network testing, but it is definitely well worth it.
  3. When browsing or shopping on your phone always look for “https” in the url instead of “http.” Always be aware that using your smart phone or laptop at a public or ‘Free WiFi’ access point may allow your Internet traffic to be intercepted. Only connect to WiFi networks that you trust, and only log on to sites that use ‘https’ in the website URL. This indicates that there is an added level of security, which should always appear before exchanging any private information, like credit card numbers or banking information online.
  4. Every phone has a unique identification number (IMEI). Find out what yours is by dialing    *#06#    (star, hash, zero, six, hash) then write it down. Knowing this will help your service provider block your phone from being used if it is stolen.
  5. Turn Bluetooth off when you aren’t using it to prevent hackers accessing your information.
  6. Don’t allow automatic connections. Some smartphones are set up to automatically connect with available Wi-Fi networks and Bluetooth devices. Disabling this option will prevent your phone from connecting and transmitting data without you realizing it.
  7. Install antivirus software. One of the biggest threats that could see data leaked is the less-than-humble virus. The problem appears to be less hazardous for iPhones thanks to Apple’s strict controlling of the App store. The open source nature of Android makes it a lot more vulnerable, as malicious apps can be side-loaded onto the device without being checked by Google. In both cases this is something that can be countered through the use of mobile Antivirus software. McAfee, AVG and Lookout can be found both the iOS App Store and the Google Play store for added security. Remember to be careful of any apps that seem a little suspicious.AVG_cell-phone
  8. Avoid giving out personal information. Think before you click. Do not open multimedia messages (MMS) or attachments in emails, or click on links in emails and SMS messages, unless you are expecting them. If you get requests via email or text for account information from any business, contact the business directly to confirm the request. The same advice goes for tapping links in unsolicited emails or texts.
  9. Back up your data regularly. We are always preaching the laurels of backing up your data…the same goes for your phone. Set up your phone so that it backs up your data when you sync it, back it up to a separate memory card, or back up your data ‘to the cloud’.
  10. Check your apps’ permissions. Many apps require more than just the basic default permissions. For instance, you can reasonably expect an SMS app to send and receive text messages just as a mapping app will request your GPS location. Please beware of an app like a calculator that needs network access, or an alarm clock that wants to read your contact database…such apps should be treated with extreme caution!

Keep safe Friends 🙂

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