Ten Tips To Securely Using Mobile Devices

SmartphoneA recent Help Net Security.com article publishes the following 10 helpful tips for using your mobile devices more securely. In a previous article on this blog, Cell Phones And Phishing Attacks: Do You Use Your Phone Safely? we reminded that smart phones and other mobile devices are powerful computers and capable of being hacked while connected to the Internet. “Today’s cell phones are computers and should be used with the same caution and wariness as any conventional computer.

And cell phone users are more likely to fall for a phishing email or text message primarily because they are usually involved in another activity, shopping, driving (carefully, I hope), or any number of things, while interacting with the criminal’s email or text message. The distraction of these “competing activities” is enough to cause mobile device users to succumb to the criminal’s request.

Here are some great tips for staying safer while using your mobile devices:

1. Update the mobile device’s operating system regularly. Updates are usually provided automatically. However, it is important to make sure updates are available to the operating system of the model in question when selecting a new mobile device.
2. Install programs only from reliable sources, i.e. well-known app stores such as iTunes, Google Play or Nokia Store. A game for one dollar may be available for free elsewhere, but it is also quite likely to contain malware.
3. Be careful with in-app purchases – they may become costly. For example, children may add superpowers to their game characters without understanding that each addition or upgrade may cost money. In many mobile devices, these in-app purchases can be disabled.
4. Be aware of the rights you have granted to different applications. From time to time, go through the user rights and privacy policies you have accepted. For example, the right to location information and network connection may enable an application to track location remotely.
5. Change the default access code and the PIN code of the SIM card. Do not use your birth year or other number combinations that would be too easy to guess. Set your device to request a password every time you use it.
6. If your mobile device supports data encryption, enable this capability.
7. Connect your mobile devices to an online service that can remotely locate a lost or stolen device and, if needed, perform a remote wipe to erase all data.
8. If your mobile device gets stolen, inform your operator immediately so that the use of your SIM card can be disabled and your subscription can be transferred to a new card.
9. When you are giving up your old device, erase all personal information by returning the device back to factory settings. Also, remove all information from old SIM cards and memory cards.
10. Make regular backups of all data in your mobile device. Cloud services are practical for this purpose, but do not send your employer’s information to these without permission.

These tips should be employed by anyone using a mobile device to shop or reading emails or text messages. However, I would add that banking or other financial transactions should never be done using a mobile device…never. Doing so exposes your credit card, bank account, and personal information to being stolen, your bank account cleaned out and your credit standing ruined.

Reference: Ten tips for mobile security

Be very careful…it’s dangerous out there.

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Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net and FreeByte.com



Filed under Cybercrime, Internet, Internet Security, malware, security, Warning

7 responses to “Ten Tips To Securely Using Mobile Devices

  1. John Bent

    Hi Paul,

    I followed a link to this from my good friend Bill Mullins. Agree with everything you say, particularly not using mobile phones for financial transactions. It seems, however, inevitable that this use for mobiles will increase. One example is the proliferation of QR codes that can take you directly to a site where a purchase can be made. This will involve providing credit card details.

    Another area I think is overlooked is the “smart” TV. At present these are used mainly for consumer purposes, but internet capabilities are becoming increasingly sophisticated, with little or no security that I’m aware of.

    Thanks for an informative article.


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  3. Paul,

    Great writeup on this… I am seeing where people, who are using the mobile platforms, do not even fathom to think about the security aspect of these devices.

    Happy New Year


    • Rick,
      Thanks for the link back and your comment. Yes, sadly, most mobile platform users don’t realize they are operating a computer that can and will be hacked.
      Happy New Year to you as well.

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