Safety Tips to Help Protect Your Mobile Phone

Info Security TipsOur mobile phones are getting smarter.  That means we are all doing more with them. However, that also means our smartphones are increasingly becoming a target for cybercriminals. For example, the IC3, a partnership between the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the National White Collar Crime Center, put out a special alert on October 12 warning of another malware attack that specifically targets the operating system on Android mobile devices (click here to view full alert). Therefore, it is a good idea to make sure you are paying attention to things you can do to help protect your phone against information intruders. For more information about protecting yourself against fraud and information security threats, please visit Citywide Banks Information Security & Privacy section at www.CitywideBanks.com/information-security/.

mobile phone security tipsHere are some tips to help protect your mobile phone:

  • Password-protect your mobile device. When creating a password, choose one that’s easy for you to remember but will be difficult for others to guess. Also, don’t share your password with anyone or tape it to your mobile device.
  • Utilize your phone’s auto-lock security feature. Make sure your auto-lock feature is turned on so it will kick in after a couple minutes. That helps ensure no one will be able to use the phone or tablet without knowing your password.
  • Install lock-sensitive applications. Another useful way to protect personal data on smartphones is to make use of an application locker utility which prevents unauthorized access to applications that contain sensitive personal information.
  • Enable real-time protection. This ensures that all files stored on your mobile device are analyzed each time you attempt to access them.
  • Activate the encryption feature (if it’s built in). While encryption offers some protection and may prevent unauthorized access to your mobile data, many mobile devices don’t include this feature in their operating systems. Check the owner’s manual to see if your phone has encryption, and make sure the feature is included when you purchase a new phone.
  • When purchasing a Smartphone, know the features of the device, including the default settings. Turn off features of the device not needed to minimize the attack surface of the device.
  • With the growth of the application (apps) market for mobile devices, users should look at the reviews of the developer/company who published the application.
  • Review and understand the permissions you are giving when you download applications.
  • Obtain malware protection for your mobile device. Look for applications that specialize in antivirus or file integrity that helps protect your device from rogue applications and malware.
  • Be aware of applications that enable Geo-location. The application will track the user’s location anywhere. This application can be used for marketing, but can be used by malicious actors raising concerns of assisting a possible stalker and/or burglaries.
  • Jailbreak or rooting is used to remove certain restrictions imposed by the device manufacturer or cell phone carrier. This allows the user nearly unregulated control over what programs can be installed and how the device can be used. However, this procedure often involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the attack surface of the device. Anytime a user, application or service runs in “unrestricted” or “system” level within an operation system, it allows any compromise to take full control of the device.
  • Do not allow your device to connect to unknown wireless networks. These networks could be rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server.
  • If you decide to sell your device or trade it in, make sure you wipe the device (reset it to factory default) to avoid leaving personal data on the device.
  • Install manufacturer firmware and operating system updates as available.
  • Avoid clicking on or otherwise downloading software or links from unknown sources.
  • Use the same precautions on your mobile phone as you would on your computer when using the Internet.

You should regularly re-evaluate your current mobile security applications and the need for further protection.

If you suspect illegal access or other fraudulent activity within your Citywide Banks account, please contact your banker or call customer service immediately – 303-365-3650.

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