Enhance your mobile security
With the proliferation of smartphones and internet-connected devices, the focus of online security is rapidly shifting away from the desktop and towards mobile devices. Leading experts believe that the fast-paced embrace of mobile devices in our everyday lives are leaving us vulnerable to financial risks.
A 2014 Norton Report indicated that the total cost of cybercrime in Australia for 2013 was AU$1.06 billion, whilst the number of Australian cybercrime victims has reached 5 million. Despite these alarming statistics, many Australians are not aware of the dangers.
Brenton Smith, the Vice President and Managing Director of Symantec in the Pacific region, has commented that “Australians are not fully aware of the importance of securing their connected mobile devices, with 32 percent of Australian smartphone users having experienced mobile cybercrime in the past 12 months. While adoption of mobile devices is high, willingness to take precautions against threats is low”.
In order to better protect ourselves against these risks we should take heed of the following tips in order to enhance our mobile security.
Take similar caution when you use cloud storage to save and share files. Be careful who can access them and what information is shared.
Share private information on a secure connection
Whenever you’re connecting to a website where you’re entering sensitive information (such as internet banking), make sure there’s an https:// at the beginning of the URL web address as it represents a secure connection. A green pad lock symbol in the URL also typically denotes a protected network.
Install security systems
Install reputable security software for all your different digital devices and regularly update the security patches for these devices. These security programs provide powerful (but imperfect) protection against malware and viruses. Sometimes your device’s manufacturer can provide recommendations so take the time to do your own research on what types of security systems are best suited to your devices.
Ensure that your mobile phone has a passcode
Simple, but critical! Whilst it can be slightly irritating to enter a passcode each time you want to use your phone, it will instantly boost your mobile security. For added protection try to create a strong password using as many characters as your device allows, and avoid using generic passwords. Also schedule regular updates for your passwords and avoid using the same password across different devices and accounts.
Check your Privacy Settings
Many different digital platforms and networks will have customisable privacy settings that request access to a lot of personal information and data. Make sure that you configure your privacy settings to your own accord for apps, social media accounts and other digital services. If you do not wish to share any private information, simply deny access or consider finding an alternative platform.
Take caution when you connect
Depending on your devices’ settings, it may automatically connect to Wi-Fi networks and blue tooth-enabled devices. These seemingly useful connections represent a window of opportunity for cyber criminals to use these openings to steal sensitive data without your consent. Try to use encrypted Wi-Fi networks that require a password authentication.
Keep track of your finances
Remember to check your statements as often as you can afford for any suspicious transactions and, should you find any, alert your financial institution.
In case your device is lost or stolen
Record the International Mobile Equipment Identifier (IMEI) of your device, which is a 15 to 17 digit number that’s usually found underneath the battery. You can also set up remote tracking via geo-location functionality and enable the locking and/or wiping functions, if your device supports them. For example, if your device is lost or stolen, you can use these assets to block, lock or wipe the handset.
By implementing some or all of these tips, you’ll be far ahead of most people in terms of their mobile security. If you wish to discuss online security further please do not hesitate to contact us.
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