Tech Tip: Stop Trusting Hackers With Your Smartphone

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Do you have a smartphone? Do you feel as though your data is secure on it? Users are relying on smartphones more and more to accomplish daily tasks. This means there is a massive amount of data traffic each day transferred to and from your device, and potentially transferred into the hands of a cybercriminal.

You probably know how to do most everything using your smartphone, but how much do you know about basic security? Today, we will share tips to ensure your defense is adequate against cyberattacks.

Lock Your Device

This one is simple. Your smartphone should have a passcode or a passphrase. Why is this? A smartphone without a lock sure is easy to access. This simple security measure is a very effective one. Some smartphones even come with a standard fingerprint or facial recognition feature, so that unlocking your device takes little to no extra time. Neglecting to lock your device ultimately puts you at the mercy of anyone who might stumble upon it. Lock it!

Protect Your Device by Capping Wireless Connectivity

Wireless connections can be as hazardous to your device as someone who simply plugs it into his or her laptop. Your device likely has numerous ways to connect wirelessly; Bluetooth, NFC communications and Wi-Fi are all pretty standard connection options. However, failing to turn your connection capabilities off while dormant could mean a cybercriminal is connecting unbeknownst to you.

Stop Giving Unused Applications Access

Have you ever downloaded an application that didn’t come standard with your device? Whether you realize it or not, you were given a prompt to accept or deny permissions. If you installed the application, chances are you accepted those possibly deceptive permissions. Let’s put it into real-world terms. You go to a driving range and request a bucket of balls. The clerk puts the balls right in front of your face, but tells you in order to receive them you must accept the following: You must allow him to view every photo and every message within your device from this point forward, allow the ability to enable or disable your microphone at any given time and even allow him to view every contact within your device. Do you accept?

When you accept permissions on downloaded applications, that does not mean they are actively viewing your photo gallery. It doesn’t mean they are monitoring every text you send. It just means that they could if they wanted to. So why do simple flashlight apps or gaming apps request so much information? Well, the data you actively transfer is often sold to advertising companies looking to sell you things you are likely to want.

If you’ve had the same application on your phone for months without using it a single time, then you can live without it. By deleting this application, not only will you be spammed with fewer ads, but you free up storage and better enhance the security of your device. If “Golfing Simulator 2017” is hacked and data is breached for all users, you won’t fall victim.

Keep It Updated

The primary reason that updates are now reoccurring is for operating systems to shore up any cybersecurity issues that become apparent. This simple update procedure ensures you are able to stay one step ahead of cybercriminals. Neglecting to update your device in a timely manner leaves you susceptible to a cyberattack.

Following these simple tips will help you keep your smartphone secure. If your smartphone shares access to some (or all) of your business data, maintaining these best practices will also boost the security of your business.

Alan Edwards, CISM, is chief information officer at Computerware, Inc., in Vienna, Virginia.

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