At NQ Mobile, we like to occasionally refresh our readers’ collective memory about safe smartphone practices. Follow these tips to diminish the chances of a privacy breach, malware invasion or ID theft.
- Passwords: Passwords should be based on something obscure, like the initials of a favorite quote or personal mantra. Incorporate at least one special character, at least one number, and don’t use the name of your pets, kids, street name, company name or any other easy-to-guess word associated with you. Make sure to change your password frequently.
- Updates: Download security updates when you’re prompted. Keep your phone current.
- Phone lock: Keep the phone on a short leash with an auto-lock that will kick in after just a few minutes. If you leave your table to get a coffee, it won’t be vulnerable to prying eyes.
- Social Networking: Don’t overshare – be careful not to post addresses, phone numbers or information about vacations, family or other tips for potential identity thieves, stalkers or bullies. Checking-in may be fun for your friends, but it also tells stalkers and other predators where you are. Forego it, if you can.
- System: Keep your phone clean by deleting any data that doesn’t need to be there.
- Notices: If you receive an urgent message from a bank or financial institution, do not click on it or provide any of the requested information. These flash messages often want you to think your account’s in jeopardy and that you need to re-enter your private data. It isn’t, you don’t – and you shouldn’t.
- Permissions: Learn to read permission agreements, end-user license agreements and terms of service agreements to make sure you’re not giving away private data when downloading new apps. And while you’re at it, teach your kids what to look for.
- Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi hotspots are often an easy target for cybercriminals. Make sure you’re working within a secured network. Hotels, coffee shops and malls are often the worst places to go online. Merchants don’t always provide super-tight WiFi security because they don’t want to require passwords, and they want to accommodate every kind of device. Besides, a good cyber-criminal knows how to break most Wi-Fi systems.
- Security: Always use a strong mobile security product to keep out the viruses, malware and fraudulent demons that tend to slip into your phone’s system when you do a lot of web surfing.
- When you dispose of a phone, be sure it’s wiped clean of all data.
You wouldn’t invite strangers to comb through and memorize the information in your wallet. Your best bet is to regard your smartphone as a receptacle of your personal and private life, and treat it accordingly.
Do you have stories that involve privacy with a smartphone? We’d love to hear from you. Join us on our Facebook page, or leave a comment on our blog.