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Mobile Device Security: Keeping Your Personal Data Personal

November 15, 2017

Nick Bell

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While we all take extra precautions when dealing with the security of our home, car or wallet, it would seem there are plenty of us who fail to secure one of the biggest threats to the privacy of our personal information —  our mobile phones.

With over 84% of Australians owning mobile phones, it’s important to understand the seriousness of having our privacy compromised. Our mobile phones hold a wealth of personal information, ranging from our bank details to addresses and emails. A breach of this information could lead to devastating consequences.

More often than not, there is a dedicated security option in the settings panel on a mobile device. It’s important for mobile users to familiarise themselves with these settings to maintain a strong level of device security.

Here are a few ways to ensure your mobile device is secure and your personal data kept firmly locked away.

 

Use a passcode
Every smartphone gives users the option to create a password. Use an alphanumeric passcode and avoid obvious numbers, such as your birthdate or street number. Most modern devices have a fingerprint unlock feature as well, which prevents people from seeing your passcode and knowing how to access your phone.

 

Avoid connecting to public networks
If you don’t desperately need to use Wi-Fi, hotspots or Bluetooth in public, turn them off. Public Wi-Fi is not secure, and makes it easy for hackers to access your personal details. The best way to ensure security while using public networks it to use a virtual private network (VPN), a service that encrypts all of your cyberspace transmissions by scrambling them beyond recognition.

 

Activate automatic app updates
Rather than opting for “Remind Me Later”, activate automatic software and app updates on your device. Updates are released regularly to patch up security holes and restrict access to potential cyber attackers. Furthermore, avoid downloading apps from third-party sources: ensure to buy your applications from the official provider’s app store where they have been screened for malware.

Set up remote wipe
If your phone is lost or stolen, you’ll be able to remotely wipe all the data from it to prevent a breach of your personal information. Some remote wipe features also give you the option of tracking your phone’s GPS location.

 

Back up your data
In the chance of your system being compromised, having recent backups of your data can assist you in restoring your phone to the state before its breach. You can do this using the cloud, or by connecting your phone to your phone to your PC or Mac.

 

Mobile device security is often overlooked, despite the fact that most of us use our smartphones on a daily basis. It’s important to be aware of the risks associated with using a smartphone in which most of our personal information is stored. Get ahead of malicious mobile activity by taking the above steps — after all, it’s better to be safe than sorry.

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