Technology advances have allowed mobile devices to work wonders in the palm of your hand. Mobile devices such as smartphones have made it easier to surf the Internet, check emails, VPN into work, and even shop online from almost anywhere. When you add all the stored data on a mobile device with all of its features and abilities, you get an incredibly valuable piece of technology, which is why so many people say they cannot live without them.
Many people wouldn’t trust their best friend, let alone a stranger, to use their smartphone. This is why mobile device manufactures have implemented security controls such as passwords and timeouts. When a smartphone is stolen or left behind—which is becoming more and more common—the odds of getting it back are pretty slim. That, combined with the access capabilities and data stored on the device, explains why most organizations consider a stolen or misplaced mobile device a security breach and implement controls and policies to remotely wipe the device of the wealth of sensitive information it contains.
Here’s what you should do to ensure security of your mobile device:
- Use strong passphrases. Refrain from using pattern passwords because they are easy to guess. Most mobile device screens contain skin oils, making the password pattern visible.
- Set a timeout of no longer than two minutes, requiring a password to unlock the device. Better yet, immediately lock the device when you’re finished using it. This keeps your device safe from not only thieves, but also nosy friends and family members.
- Encrypt the SD card. This keeps your data safe even when your device is lost or stolen.
- Backup the data on your device. How many phone numbers can you actually memorize if you needed to re-create your contact list? Backups are especially important in the event your device is ever lost, stolen, or wiped.
- Install anti-malware software to protect your mobile device from viruses, key loggers, phishing websites, and other malicious activity. Many anti-malware applications also give you the ability to track your device through GPS and, if necessary, wipe the device remotely. Most anti-malware software vendors include many other features as well. Check out www.av-test.org to compare offerings from various vendors to find what works best for you.
- Consider a randomized PIN. If you use a PIN to secure your device check your settings: many devices now allow the number pattern on the lock screen to be randomized, preventing skin oils from inadvertently disclosing the numbers in your PIN.