By Allie Philpin
As mobile device users, be it for work or personal use, you can’t turn the corner without hearing about the latest threat to the security of our data! Companies are falling over themselves to provide us with the latest technological innovation that will secure your mobile device better than anything else on the market; analysts are constantly suggesting new, improved ways to keep our devices secure; software providers are distributing new updates to combat the next malware threat. But with the bombardment of all this, are we not forgetting the everyday basics we should be adopting as normal practice to keeping our mobile devices secure?
How much a malware threat affects your device depends on the operating system you are using, and how you use your mobile. Yes, Android is being targeted far more than iOS, but that’s not to say iOS aren’t the subject to malware attacks; they are. There are some scams that have been designed to steal your personal information from both of these operating systems. So, what basic, everyday tasks should you be doing to keep your mobile devices, and the data they hold, more secure?
1. Those alerts telling you about operating system and software updates? Make sure you install them. The more you can keep your software up-to-date, the more likely it is that you will avoid vulnerabilities. However, those with older devices that can’t be updated need to be more careful when downloading apps. Be vigilant, ensure the app is from either a trusted developer or a trusted provider, such as Google Play, and check that access is only given for the functions required.
2. Malware is prevalent; install anti-malware software that protects you against mobile malware, i.e. spyware and ransomware. AVAST report that there are around 2,500 new mobile malware samples daily! There are free versions of anti-malware software available – AVAST provide a free solution – avast! Mobile Security – that not only protects you against malware, but also theft, data loss and invasion of privacy, whilst Avira launched their mobile security solution dedicated to the iPhone/iPad/iPod user last year.
3. Most of us utilise the Internet connection feature on our mobile devices on a regular basis; do we think about what we’re doing when we open the wireless connection to browse the Internet, or connect to a social network, or even to check our bank balances? No, we don’t, but we should! The majority of open Wi-Fi access points are far from secure – be careful when using them. Alternatively, ensure your Internet connection remains secure, and private, by using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) solution.
4. Back-up, back-up, back-up! If you’ve ever been in the situation where you’ve lost data from your mobile devices, or have deleted files by mistake, or have lost your device (or had it stolen!), you’ll understand the importance of backing-up your data. Replacing the device is not a problem – it’s just a container; replacing all of your important (and less important ) contacts, text messages from loved ones, memorable photos, call logs, and more is virtually impossible!
5. How do you access your device? If you’ve answered ‘by entering a form of authentication’, be it a PIN code, fingerprint recognition or another trigger, well done! If you’ve answered ‘it’s not locked’, it’s time to have a re-think. You may believe it’s quicker, more convenient, or not necessary to lock your device but you’d be wrong. Beware; it takes only a matter of seconds for your device to be picked up and accessed by someone other than you, and your personal information has been stolen.
Basic stuff, huh? Yes, it is, but I wouldn’t be surprised if many of us don’t carry out some or even all of these simple steps. Make them part of your everyday routine and you’re well on your way to keeping your mobile device more secure.