Data thieves see smartphones as way to get personal info Smartphones are big sellers in the cellphone market. They can perform many of the functions of a personal computer, and like the computer, you need to keep the phone secure. Here are a few tips to keep the device safe from data thieves:

• Set your pin and password to prevent unauthorized access to the phone's home screen. Setting up a password or pin that only you know, will prevent others from using your phone without your knowledge. Set your smartphone to lock after five minutes when it is idle.

• Do not modify the smartphone's security setting. Modifying the built-in security setting is called "jail breaking."This undermines the phone's security and it makes the phone easier to attack.

• Back up and secure your data. You should back up all the data stored on your phone such as your contacts, documents and photos. These files can be stored on your computer, a removal storage card or in the Cloud, and can easily be restored if the phone is lost, stolen or erased.

• Only install applications (apps) from trusted sources. Before downloading an app, make sure it is legitimate. Check with the apps store to make sure the software you're downloading is from a trusted source. Remember that apps downloaded from unreliable sources may contain malware that can and will steal personal information.

• Understand an apps permissions before accepting them. Be very cautious about granting an app access to personal information or allowing it to perform functions on your phone Check your
phone's privacy settings for each app.

• Install security apps that enable remote location and wiping in the event your phone is lost or stolen. A good security feature available on smartphones is the ability to remotely locate and erase all the data stored on the phone, even if it's GPS is off. These apps can also help you find your phone.

• Accept updates and patches to your smartphone's software. Your smartphone is like a computer, it needs to be updated and patched to keep it secure and working correctly. Always let your phone provider update your phone.

• Be smart on Wi-Fi networks. Your phone is an easy target for cybercriminals on public hotspots. Use a trusted Wi-Fi source from your phone provider to reduce the chance of putting your data at risk. Never provide any login or personal account information on public Wi-Fi networks.

• Wipe the data on your old phone before you donate, resell or recycle it. Your smartphone contains personal data that you want to protect. When you get a new phone return the old one its original factory setting before you donate or sell your phone.

• Report a stolen smartphone. The wireless service providers have a stolen phone database. If your phone is stolen, you should report the theft to your local law enforcement authorities and then register the stolen phone with your wireless provider. This will allow the wireless provider to prevent the phone from being reactivated and placed back on the cell network.

Page last updated Wed September 11th, 2013 at 11:26