Mobile device security: Keep your information safe

Group of People Connection Digital Device Concept

A few years ago, mobile phone security was the last thing on most minds. But today, so much information is transmitted on your phone. Some may say it is even your life-line since traditional phones are being used less and less. Read below for some tips from technology experts that review the most effective ways to keep your mobile phone secure.

Use a passcode lock. Use a stronger password by making it longer (good advice for
any device that has a login or password). Take advantage of the 6-digit option on
your iPhone. Your Android can have up to 16 digits for a numeric password. Set up
an aggressive time-out. This way if you are not using your phone for a short period of
time, your phone will lock and you will be required to type in a passcode, use your
finger, or complete a pattern correctly to regain access. Believe it or not, this basic safeguard is sometimes overlooked, generally for the reason of convenience. Also, don’t set your password to 0000, 1111, or 1234. This will also put you at risk since these are likely the first combinations someone will try when attempting to gain unauthorized access to your device.

Protect your data. Set up remote wipe to allow yourself to delete the contents of your phone if it gets stolen. Your data should be safely backed up in the cloud, so you should
not permanently lose your photos and notes. But since it could be too late by the time you realize the phone is missing, take advantage of the built-in data protection features. Encrypting your phone will store your device’s data in a scrambled form that can only be decoded with your passcode. If it is stolen, the thief cannot access your emails, photos, and personal information without the PIN or password you set while encrypting the phone.

Don’t click on a trick. Be suspicious of free download offers and phishing scams. Often these scams occur when a cyber thief calls, texts, or emails while posing as a business and attempts to collect your login information. A sophisticated scammer can create a site that looks legitimate, so don’t follow links in messages. If you want to login to a site, navigate to it the way you normally do.

Wi-Fi in public is not secure. Even though connections to public Wi-Fi will say they are not secure, not all users notice this alert, and some may not even know what it means. Instead, using a virtual private network (VPN) will significantly boost security for your sensitive data. Disable automatic connections to open Wi-Fi and only connect to trusted networks. Data transmitted over any connection that you do not fully control could potentially be compromised. Shut down Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connections when you’re done, and be sure to only use trusted Wi-Fi providers.

Download phone apps from trusted sources only. Use the Apple Store or Google Play. Do not put any unsolicited software on your phone. Read the full detailed description of any app you download. You will be shocked at how many of them request access to things they do not really need such as your camera, flashlight, speaker, contacts, and more. Find an alternative to any that are too intrusive.

Keep your operating system software current. When you receive the notification to update your phone, try not to hit “remind me later.” The latest software updates from the manufacturer will likely include security improvements that address vulnerabilities cybercriminals can otherwise exploit. With smartphone ownership reaching 77% of U.S. adults, hackers have taken notice and malware targeting those devices has surged by 54% in 2018.

Use your phone for business purposes with care. Ninety percent of workers in the United States use their personal smartphones for work purposes. Data security is one of the biggest risks. Employees who are using their personal devices for work put corporate content and data at risk —whether it is contacts, messages, a sales report or new product information — whenever it is accessed from outside the corporate network or shared with multiple users.

Prepare your phone when you upgrade. Always factory reset and clear data on your device before you sell or recycle

Delete text messages or emails that may contain sensitive information. If you need to send over a copy of your social security card, passport, or any personal data, it is best not to keep a copy on any of your devices. But if you have no other options, delete the text or email from your device afterwards.

Don’t share your device with others.
Mobile phones only have one user account; therefore, one password accesses all the data in the phone.

Members 1st cares about the safety and security of our members and their financial information.

For more educational resources, view our important documents and our privacy policy.

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