Mobile Phones and the Security of your Data

Google recently published some research around how people use mobile devices to “get things done” (see full article here: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/articles/mobile-search-consumer-behavior-data.html). Some of the highlights from this research are:

  • 96% of people use a smartphone to get things done when a question or need arises
  • When needs arise people are twice as likely to use mobile search engines than other online or offline resources, with 87% turning to search engines first
  • 70% of smartphone owners who bought something in a store, searched for information on that purchase first
  • 92% of those who searched on their phone made a related purchase
  • 68% of people used search to help with things they want to address at some point in the future

 

With all this activity occurring on mobile phones, coupled with actual purchases made on smartphone, the security of mobile data should be addressed.

Some of the security concerns are:

  • Vulnerabilities in mobile payment services – There is talk of hackers looking to bypass security measure and steal credit card information via mobile payment apps. In fact, Apple Pay has already shown vulnerabilities http://www.zdnet.com/article/apple-pay-could-help-move-online-credit-card-fraud-into-physical-stores/.
  • Mobile Browser Hijacking – Hackers can gain total control of a device by exploiting browser vulnerabilities and access personal data.
  • Unsecure Wi-Fi networks – Whether intentionally connecting or unknowingly having your phone set to auto-connect, your data could be seen by others through insecure apps or web-browsing.

So how can you make smartphone more secure?

One of the essentials is to keep your software updated.   Updates often contain fixes to security vulnerabilities.

Some other ways include:

  • Use a locked screen and a unique password
  • Install and keep up-to-date antivirus software
  • Turn off Wi-Fi until you need it and try to only use secure networks
  • Don’t download or use apps from untrustworthy sources
  • Don’t jailbreak your phone unless you know what you are doing to ensure security
  • Use lock codes and vaults

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