10 Ways to Secure Your Mobile Device
Phone in one hand, coffee in the other you check your Facebook, glance at today’s news on your CNN app, and view email. Maybe you do a quick check on your bank account balance, or take advantage of an online sale from your favorite store. Then you pull up your Waze app to find the best route to the office.
On your lunch break you play Candy Crush, then check your personal email. Did you count how many times your data was vulnerable? Probably not. These apps are all from reputable companies, and you downloaded them through an app store. They had to be vetted to be available, so what’s the harm?
We don’t mean to do it, but most of us engage in poor security practices when using our mobile devices:
- 1 Too trusting: We assume developers have accounted for vulnerabilities, and so we inherently trust most applications.
- 2 No passwords: Considering the number of times we access our phones on a daily basis, using the recommended complex password on our phones is… well, complex. In fact, 40% of devices don’t even have passwords at all. Finding a balance between complex passcodes and easy access to your phone (and apps) is recommended, but may not be practical.
- 3 Coffee, bagel, and a side of free WiFi: Locations like coffee shops and airports offer free, unsecured WiFi connections allowing an easy pathway for nearby hackers to mine your data. Many consumers use free, unsecured WiFi. One study showed that 50% of devices connect to unsecured WiFi at least once a month in the U.S.1 Read more on CPA Practice Advisor.
- Installing untrustworthy applications: Installing an app from a pop-up ad or through a third party site (not a first party application store like Google Play or Apple App Store) increases the risk of malware infecting your device.
- Delaying updates: Waiting to update operating systems or applications increases the risk that your data will be compromised by the vulnerability the application is trying to repair. Sometimes the update released for applications contains better security measures. Same holds true for operating systems; updating when the release has been issued is a recommended best practice.
What does mobile security mean for consumers?
For the first time in history, more than 25% of the global population will use smartphones in 2015, surging to more than one-third of consumers worldwide by 2018.2 The rapid rise of mobile devices translates to the increased use of mobile applications on these devices. Therefore, more and more sensitive and personal data is now being stored on our mobile devices. Mobile devices offer a broad attack surface, attack methods are constantly evolving, and the security solutions that worked for traditional computing (i.e. laptops and workstations) just don’t translate to mobile. Read more on CPA Practice Advisor.