Mobile device security should be a major concern for those who own and use smartphones. When you obtain a new phone, a few preliminary security steps should be taken to ensure that your data is secure and your phone is safe. The folks at Veracode have put together an infographic called “So You Got A Smartphone for Christmas,” that is complete with some essential security steps that a smartphone user MUST perform to protect the phone from hackers and other prying eyes. Though the steps on the Veracode site primarily address Android and Apple iOS phone operating systems, these steps are great advice for any brand of smartphone. New smartphones are not set up with these security precautions when they are shipped from the factory. You must actively perform a few actions to make sure your personal data and your device are protected and secure.
1.) Immediately change (or set) the password on the phone, as well as for your voicemail account before using the device. The phone password will either be set to a factory default password, or the device will not have a password configured. Most phones will walk you through setting the device password through the initial setup application. The voicemail password will be set when you initially configure your voicemail account for first use. Be sure to perform this step even before making your first call.
2.) When you set your phone and voicemail passwords, be sure to use a PIN or password that is difficult for hackers to guess. Do not use your birthdate or any other information that might be easy for others to discover and use to access your phone.
3.) Disable wireless connections, such as Bluetooth, if you do not use them. Open wireless connections may provide a hacker with open access to your phone and data. Only set up and save WiFi connections that you use.
4.) Configure the time-out settings on the phone so that the device is password protected after five minutes of inactivity. Even though you will need to enter the password each time you use the phone after it has set for several minutes, your data and phone will be much more secure by implementing this step.
5.) Do not install apps from sources that you do not know and trust. Be careful when installing freeware or trialware to your phone. You may be installing a backdoor access mode for a hacker along with the application. It is a good idea to read reviews about apps before your install them just to make sure that others have had positive experiences with the apps. Apple reviews and approves iOS apps for access through iTunes. Occasionally, Apple will disapprove a previously-approved app if the app does not perform well or is questionable in any way. Through this process, Apple is able to further protect their iOS operating system users from harmful and buggy apps.
6.) Immediately install mobile security software to protect your device. Veracode suggests a security application such as Lookout for smartphone protection.
7.) Mobile device management software is necessary for not only managing data on the phone, but to access additional security features, as well. For example, Apple’s iOS management software will enable geolocation for your phone in case the phone is lost or stolen. Also, if you phone is lost or stolen, you are able to wipe all of your personal data from the device using the management software.
8.) Be sure to back up your phone to another storage location on a regular basis. Should your media card or phone hard drive become corrupted, you do not want to lose all of your valuable photos, music and files.
9.) Whenever using a public WiFi connection, never log into your bank account or access any other personal data. Hackers may easily access sensitive data when sent over a public WiFi connection.
10.) Update the firmware on your device as soon as upgrades are available. Often, firmware is upgraded to close security holes and fix flaws in previous versions.
By taking these steps as soon as you get a new smartphone, you will make your device much more secure and inaccessible to hackers and others who seek to obtain your personal information.