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Smartphones 101

Check your phone’s default settings and familiarize yourself with your device. If there are settings that you are unsure about, turn them off. Always ensure that your phone’s wireless is disabled when you are not using it, as unknown network connections can pose security risks. If you disable your phones ability to automatically connect to networks, you can reduce the risks of malicious attacks and hackers. Remember to use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.

Smartphones require updates to run applications and firmware. If a user neglects this, it increases the risk of having their device hacked or compromised. If your phone’s operating system has encryption available, enable it. Encryption protects a user's personal data in case of theft or loss.

Jailbreaking

Although jailbreaking or rooting your Smartphone sounds "cool" or "unique," you can cause a lot of damage. When you jailbreak or root your phone, you remove certain restrictions put in place by the device manufacturer or cell phone carrier, this often involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the possibility of an attack on the device. It allows any compromise to take full control of the device, and any information you have stored.

Mobile Applications

Every app is associated with permissions that you are granting to the app’s publisher. Be aware of applications that enable Geo-location (this includes photos iPhone and social media networks). Some applications track a user's location, allowing an app to follow you wherever you go. It may sound harmless, but many applications can be used by malicious attackers, raising concerns of assisting a possible stalker and burglaries.

When you purchase or download a new application onto your device, check the reviews of developer/company who published it. By selecting on or downloading software or links from unknown sources, your device is susceptible to risks.

Safety Tips

  • Password protect your mobile device, be sure to enable the screen lock feature after a few minutes of inactivity.
  • Obtain malware protection for your mobile device. Here are some reviews for the best antivirus and malware for your smartphone.
  • If you decide to sell your device or trade it in, make sure you reset the device to factory default to avoid leaving any personal information behind.