10 WAYS TO IMPROVE YOUR CELL & DEVICE SECURITY
Here are ten ways to improve your device security to reduce the risk of exposure. As cell phones and other mobile devices continue to grow in usage, it is important to protect yourself.
1 | UPDATE AND PATCH SOFTWARE
Ensure to keep your operating system software up to date by enabling automatic updates or accepting updates when prompted. In essence, you want to accept and install the updates from your service provider, operating system, device manufacturer, or application provider. By keeping these items current, you reduce the risk of exposure.
2 | USE PINS AND PASSWORDS
A password or Personal Identification Number (PIN) is the first defense in case your phone is lost or stolen. Additionally, you should configure your phone to automatically lock after a few minutes or when your phone is idle.
3 | DO NOT MODIFY YOUR DEVICE’S SECURITY SETTINGS
This is called Jailbreaking or Rooting. Tampering with your phone’s factory settings weakens the built-in security features offered by your wireless provider and device. Accordingly, this makes your device susceptible to an attack and works as a door for cybercriminals.
4 | BACKUP YOUR DATA
You should backup all the data stored on your device. For example, backup your contacts, documents, media files, or anything you do not want to lose. These files can be stored in your cloud. Also, this will allow you to conveniently restore the information should it be lost, stolen, or erased.
5 | INSTALL APPS FROM TRUSTED SOURCES
Before downloading an app, conduct some research to ensure the app is legitimate. First, only download from your app store. Next, read the reviews and compare the company’s official website with the app store link to confirm consistency. Many apps from untrusted sources contain malware. Once installed, the cybercriminal can steal information, install viruses, and cause harm to your contents. There are also legitimate apps that warn you if any security risks exist on your phone. Also, make sure this application is from a well-known company and trusted source.
6 | UNDERSTAND APP PERMISSIONS & DEVICE SECURITY
Always be cautious about granting applications access to personal information. Additionally, you should be careful of letting applications have access to perform functions on your phone. Furthermore, make sure to check the privacy settings for each app before installing.
7 | INSTALL SECURITY APPS
A smart security feature widely available on a device is the ability to remotely locate and erase the data stored. If you misplace your phone, some applications can activate a loud alarm. These apps can also help you locate and recover your phone when lost.
8 | BE CAREFUL WITH OPEN WI-FI NETWORKS AND PUBLIC PORTS
When you access a Wi-Fi network or public charging port, your device can be an easy target of cybercriminals. Instead, use a protected network or Virtual Private Network (VPN) that you trust and carry a power supply with you. Especially, when accessing your personal or sensitive information, you want to be extra careful. Regardless, always be aware when clicking web links and be particularly cautious if you are asked to enter account or log-in information.
9 | TURN OFF YOUR BLUETOOTH AND WI-FI WHEN NOT IN USE
A Bluetooth channel is a common avenue for a hacker to use. From a Bluetooth channel, a cybercriminal could mask a malicious device and try to make it seem like a legitimate device for you to connect. Also, be sure to double-check which devices you are connecting with. Especially, be extra careful when it is not your own Bluetooth or it’s your first time connecting.
10| REPORT A STOLEN OR MISSING DEVICE
When your cell or mobile device is missing, contact your service provider. They can provide a notice to all the major wireless service providers that the phone has been stolen and will allow for remote “bricking” of the phone so that it cannot be activated on any wireless network without your permission.
- To learn more about identity theft fraud safety visit ID Theft Center.
- If you think you’ve been a victim of identity theft, contact the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) at 877-IDTHEFT (438-4338) or visit the Federal Trade Commission’s site to learn more.
- If you believe your Social Security Number is being used fraudulently contact the Social Security Administration at (800) 772-1213.
- It’s a good idea to get a copy of your credit report each year from each credit-reporting agency. You can get a free credit report yearly from the Annual Credit Report website at annualcreditreport.com or by calling 1-877-322-8228 where you will go through a simple verification process over the phone. It is important that you obtain and review a copy of your credit report once a year to make sure your information is accurate.
- For financial literacy, check out Upgrade| our blog or our financial education page.
- To file a complaint about a suspected fraudulent email, contact the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Internet Crime Complaint Center at www.ic3.gov.