Mobile Devices Need Protection Too!

It’s easy to gain that false sense of security with your mobile device. Once you’ve created that simple password, there’s no way someone can gain access to the plethora of personal information you have stored on your phone, right? Especially since that device is practically glued to your hand. WRONG. Criminals are realizing just how much information the average mobile device owner stores on these little pieces of hardware. And they are developing the means to access that information at an alarming rate. Add to that the fact that they are constantly looking for a crime of opportunity, and your safe world can suddenly be in the hands of the bad guys. Think about it. How many times have you set your mobile phone on a restaurant table and turned around to talk to someone? All it takes is one thief to casually walk by and smoothly whisk that little phone away, followed by a hasty exit. And just like that, your safe little cyber-world is now in the hands of someone who can wreak havoc on all the personal information you’ve comfortably stored, giving you immediate access to almost any information you need: bank applications, contacts, pictures, home addresses, etc.; all that information gone in an instant; all that information at the disposal of hackers.

Get out of the comfort zone folks! If you want to protect yourself, you have a responsibility to protect your phone. If it does end up in the wrong hands, you have the means to SHUT THEM DOWN. Here are a few ways you can help yourself by taking care of your mobile friend.

1. DO password protect your mobile device. Too many people skip this step making it easy for a hacker to do his/her job.

2. DO make your password a mix of letters, numbers, and special characters if possible.

3. DO set up the remote wipe capability built into many phones. You may have to download this feature (for example, “Find My iPhone®*”), but the first time you lose your device you’ll be glad you did it!

4. DO set up your device to auto-lock. This could be the difference between that window of opportunity when someone maliciously gets your mobile device while unlocked, and finds it locked in a matter of minutes, requiring that clever passcode to be entered again.

5. Similar to your computer, your mobile device needs a password that not an easy one to guess. While some devices only allow 4 character passwords, you can still avoid falling into the habit of easy, hackable passwords.

6. DON’T use words spelled backward.

7. DON’T use common sequences such as 1234 or abcd.

8. DON’T repeat characters such as 9999.

9. DON’T use your name or birth date.

10. DON’T leave your phone unattended. Just DON’T! It only takes seconds for a thief to swipe your device and walk away.

11. DON’T respond to or click links in unsolicited text messages. You never know who’s on the other end of the message, and what they’ll do once you’ve verified you are a live number. Fraudulent texting, calling and voicemails are on the rise. Just like email, request for personal information or to immediate action are almost always a scam.

12. And DON’T jailbreak your phone. It’s just not worth it. Jailbreaking your phone means you are using software on your phone that is not supported by your carrier. Basically, you are “breaking open” the supported file system. You are putting yourself and your device at additional risk from unknown vulnerabilities or opening access that could not normally be exploited by an attacker.

One last DO: If your mobile device is missing and presumed stolen, call the police. Your safety is most important. Chances are you have a lot more information stored on your device than you realize, and you need to protect yourself immediately if that information falls into the wrong hands.

Woodforest National Bank

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