October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month (NCSAM)
Smartphones continue to be the thing we all use. More and more. And with that they are just about as powerful and functional as many computers.
We really need to protect our smartphones just like our computers.
National Cyber Security Awareness Month is designed to raise awareness about cyber security and increase the resiliency of the nation in the event of a cyber incident. Cyber security is one of the United States’ most important national security priorities and every individual can play a role. Cyber security is a shared responsibility. So let’s get on it!
1. Set PINs and passwords.
To prevent unauthorized access to your phone, set a password or Personal Identification Number (PIN) on your phone’s home screen. This comes in really handy when you phone gets lost or stolen. Happens a lot! My brother’s got stolen, my friend’s got lost. Also set it up so your automatically locks after a couple minutes.
2. Do not modify your smartphone’s security settings.
Yeah! ‘Cause this is sort of for geeks. But yes, some definitely do it for convenience or just because they can! By tampering with your phone’s factory settings, jail breaking, or rooting your phone you undermine the built-in security features opening it up to an attack. So not good!
3. Backup and secure your data.
What you say it’s gone?!?!?!??!
You should backup all of the data stored on your phone – such as your contacts, documents, and photos! Sort of a no-brainer but lots of folks don’t do it!
4. Only install apps from trusted sources.
Before downloading an app, conduct research to ensure the app is legitimate. Checking the legitimacy of an app may include such thing as: checking reviews, confirming the legitimacy of the app store, and comparing the app sponsor’s official website with the app store link to confirm consistency.
5. Understand app permissions before accepting them.
You should be cautious about granting applications access to personal information on your phone or otherwise letting the application have access to perform functions on your phone. Make sure to also check the privacy settings for each app before installing.
6. Install security apps that enable remote location and wiping. An important security feature widely available on smartphones, either by default or as an app, is the ability to remotely locate and erase all of the data stored on your phone, even if the phone’s GPS is off. In the case that you misplace your phone, some applications can activate a loud alarm, even if your phone is on silent. These apps can also help you locate and recover your phone when lost.
7. Accept updates and patches to your smartphone’s software.
Old systems are so not cool anymore. You should keep your phone’s operating system software up-to-date by enabling automatic updates or accepting updates when prompted from your service provider, device manufacturer, or application provider.
8. Be smart on open Wi-Fi networks.
When you access a Wi-Fi network that is open to the public, your phone can be an easy target of cyber criminals. You should limit your use of public hot spots. Instead use protected Wi-Fi from a network operator you trust or mobile wireless connection to reduce your risk of exposure. Really, really do that when you use personal or sensitive information while on it.
9. Wipe data on your old phone before you donate, resell or recycle it.
Completely erase data off of your phone and reset the phone to its initial factory settings.
10. Report a stolen smartphone.
The major wireless service providers, in coordination with the FCC, have established 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. That way they can remote “brick” the phone so that it cannot be activated on any wireless network without your permission.
Hop on over to our post For NCSAM… Have you had to deal with any of these? What did you do? Let’s find out what others think!!
1. Ten Steps to Smartphone Security for Android. October 19, 2017; Available from: https://www.fcc.gov/smartphone-security/Android. Accessed: October 19, 2017.
2. October Is National Cyber Security Awareness Month. Available from: http://www.doncio.navy.mil/chips/ArticleDetails.aspx?ID=6967. Accessed: October 19, 2017.