Smartphone ownership is the new norm in the US. In fact, Forrester estimates that in just four years, one billion people will own smartphones.
Though smartphone ownership opens up a range of new possibilities—from the ability to work remotely to the ability to contact anyone at the push of a button— these mini mobile computers also present a number of security threats.
Do you own a smartphone? Do you use that phone to store or access personal or important data? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you should also be taking precautions to protect that data.
Here are three best practices everyone should know about smartphone security:
- Implement Secure Passwords
The most low-tech threat your smartphone presents is the opportunity for someone to pick up the phone and access all the data stored there, including emails, passwords and contact information. A secure PIN or password is your smartphone’s first line of defense against this kind of data theft.
- Beware of Viruses and Malware
Did you know that your smartphone could suffer an attack by way of viruses and malware (just like your computer), which can leave your data vulnerable? Mobile security software specifically designed for smartphones can help protect against these attacks. Also take caution when clicking links in text messages or downloading apps, both of which can contain scams, which could infect your phone. According to NPR, “ a growing number of malicious apps install spyware, target personal information and attempt to charge user hidden fees.”
- Turn Off Unused Applications
Though it’s often hard to remember, make sure to turn off applications—including Bluetooth, Wi-Fi and GPS—when not in use. This will not only reduce the attack surface, it will also increase your phone’s battery life.
Smartphones provide a great resource, but they aren’t smart enough to protect themselves. Take charge of your personal data and protect yourself, by being smart about smartphone security.
SOUND OFF: Hacked voicemail, malicious apps and stolen data. Do you have a smartphone security horror story?