Protecting Your Data on Your Mobile Device
AllClear ID proudly sponsors and provides financial support to the ITRC. For more information on the ITRC’s financial support relationships please visit their website.
There’s little doubt that smartphones, phablets, and tablets have made life more convenient and more connected. But what too many tech users fail to recognize is that their mobile devices are just like mini hand-held computers. They’re vulnerable to cyber thieves and hackers if they aren’t protected.
What About Work Phones?
The first thing you must take into account is who owns your phone or tablet. That seems like a pretty simple question, but it can actually get very complicated when your personal use and your business use are intertwined. Some companies require their employees to carry a specific device and may even have a company phone number associated with it, but still charge the device, accessories, or even the usage plans to their employees. That means you’re paying for it, but the company’s name is on it. So what are you allowed to do with it? Can you download the latest game, or log into your personal
Facebook account in the Facebook app?
These are all things that need to be clarified with your employer before you do anything personal on the device. The behaviors you engage in through your personal use can have repercussions for the company, especially if a hacker gets access to company emails you sent, files you loaded in your personal/work Dropbox account, and more.
Personal Phones aren’t Always Safe
But even if it’s your own device, there are ways that your mobile device can turn on you once a thief targets you. Everything from losing the physical device (and therefore handing over control of your email to the thief) to accessing the internet over unsecured wireless connections can leave you vulnerable.
In the case of physical loss of the device—whether through theft or misplacing it, and whether it’s personal or professional—having a strong passcode on the device is important for keeping someone else out of your data. Envision this scenario: someone randomly finds your lost phone, then taps the email icon. He or she in your account now, and can change the password on your email to lock you out of it. Next, they head to your Facebook app and clicks “forgot my password,” and the link to reset it to a new one is sent to the email account that you no longer control. Then, it’s on to your banking app which is prominently located right there on the screen.
The thief now controls most of your important accounts, which are all easily accessible without a passcode on your mobile device.
Things get even hairier if the thief is intentionally targeting you and has the necessary tech skills to work his way into your accounts. For this reason, a VPN is a strongly recommended tool. It keeps others from “seeing” you when you’re online, and there are many great free options out there, as well as low-budget paid accounts.
These issues can mostly be prevented with a few security measures in place. Passcode locking is great, but two-step authentication is even better. Setting up your banking app to require additional information if you’re connecting from anywhere but home is a good step, and logging out of your accounts completely after each use is even better.
These few steps can go a long way in protecting your mobile device and the information stored on it from hackers and ID thieves.
“AllClear ID proudly sponsors and provides financial support to the ITRC. For more information on the ITRC’s financial support relationships please visit their website.”