The threats targeting mobile devices haven’t really changed and are still caused by physical device loss and misuse of apps, according to Dionisio Zumerle, the research director of Gartner. But what has changed is the severity of the consequences of those threats as smartphones store and access sensitive data from banking information to healthcare records. Zumerle also points out that today’s apps are invasive and ask to verify personal information, along with access to your contact list and location. While most of those apps aren’t doing anything malicious with the information, it’s exceedingly easy to lose control of your own mobile security.
Mobile security will always evolve and require a new set of safety standards. It’s no longer enough to simply password protect your phone or download apps to wipe it clean in the event of theft. Today’s smartphone users need a savvy approach to staying safe and protecting data and personal information. Here’s how to stay on top of the latest mobile security tools and tricks.
Leverage Social Media
Social media can both help and hinder your diligence towards mobile security. With all of your social media platforms connected to your smartphone, it’s easy for thieves to gain access to personal information and steal your identity. It’s not uncommon to hear of victims of identity theft whose social media accounts were duplicated in an effort to establish an online presence.
Fortunately, social media can also help immediately identify new mobile threats and ways to combat them. Start by following an account like LifeLock on Facebook to get real-time updates on cybercrime trends and recommendations on how to protect yourself. Ask questions about what to do in case of identity theft and how to help restore your credit and online reputation.
Get the Latest Security Apps
Although some apps are malicious, others can help protect your mobile device and your identity. Apps like Avira Antivirus Security helps Android and iOS users scan their apps for trouble and allows you to remotely locate your device, lock it or trigger an alarm. The app can also check to see if your email has been hacked and alert you about malicious behavior.
Turn off Auto-Retrieval
According to Tech Times, 950 million Android users are victims of a new malware attack called Stagefright. When users automatically receive an MMS message, Stagefright thieves can gain access to their smartphone and control it remotely. This gives them access to everything from your Bluetooth to photos, media, texts and apps. A thief could copy your personal information or delete it completely. While manufacturers work to ensure the attacks are under control and releasing patches, simply turning off the automatic retrieval function can help stop the risk for attack.
Protect Your SIM Card
It’s tempting to leave your smartphone bills on autopilot, but it’s crucial to keep tabs on your activity. Criminals can take a SIM reader or scanner and copy the information from your card. With all of your stored information in hand, thieves can use your smartphone to make free calls, send texts and do anything else they want. You may not see any personal identity theft, but you could see your phone bill quadruple within a month. Keeping an eye on your bill can alert you to fraudulent activity and stop thieves in their tracks.