These days, we use our mobile phones for literally everything. From surfing the web to making business calls, our phones keep us connected with everyone and up-to-date on everything – in fact, there are currently more than 4 billion mobile phones in use worldwide.
While protecting your computer from viruses, trojans, and hacking is common knowledge these days, did you know that your phone needs protection as well? With the growing number of mobile phones being used around the world, cyber-criminals have started seeing these devices as a new avenue for attack and mobile malware aimed at the Android platform grew 400% in six months between June 2010 and January 2011.
There are a range of different threats that can target your mobile and the personal information stored on it. However, you can protect yourself by simply having some awareness on the types of threats out there, and by implementing these five tips for mobile phone security.
Mobile threats: from malware to QR codes
- Device theft/losing your device: We all know someone who has lost their phone, or who has had their phone stolen. Misplacing or having your mobile phone stolen can result in the loss of sensitive personal information, a breach of privacy, and also compromised online accounts, such as your bank account.
- Phishing: Many people are aware of phishing attempts on their computers, but did you know it can also occur on your mobile device? Phishing can be delivered via email or social networking, and cause sensitive information (passwords, account numbers, and logins) to be revealed.
- Malware or spyware: Another common PC threat, malware and spyware can compromise your personal information, and even cause you to have unauthorised charges on your phone bill due to excessive data or phone usage. Spyware could also allow others to listen in to your mobile phone calls and retrieve your voicemails.
- QR codes: Although QR codes seem relatively harmless, there is still the possibility that you scan a QR code that causes your phone to download a malicious application.
- Wi-Fi networks: If you use your mobile phone to connect to an unsecured network, the data you send could be intercepted.
Five tips to keep your mobile phone secure
- Keep your system updated. Android and iOS are both constantly being updated with the latest security measures. Ensure you regularly check for updates to keep your device performing at its optimal level.
- Always remember to log out. It’s easy to keep sites logged in because it’s your personal phone, but what if your phone is lost or stolen and a thief has access to your information? Make sure to log out after using banking websites or any sites with sensitive information so you protect yourself – and always check the site URL before putting in any details! In addition, never save your username or password in your phone in case your device falls into the wrong hands.
- Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Good news: not only does this save you battery – it also keeps your phone safe. If your Wi-Fi is left on and connected to an unsecure connection, cybercriminals can easily access your data; similarly, if your Bluetooth settings allow others to connect to your device without your permission, malicious users could potentially gain access to your files and information.
- Install a mobile security app. Like computers, mobiles also have antivirus and security tools to help catch existing and emerging mobile threats. Install a tool – such as McAfee Mobile Security – to ensure that you are protected no matter where you go with your phone.
What steps do you take to ensure your mobile information is secure?
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Comprehensive Protection for Your Mobile Device
Your mobile device isn’t just a computer. It’s an extension of you. You use it for all of life’s details — calls, messages, contacts, photos, videos — and many of life’s pleasures — games, social networking, shopping, staying in touch with work and family. If your device gets lost, stolen, or infected with a virus, your personal data could be abused. You and your friends could be targeted for fraud and identity theft. Confidential work information might be stolen. And now that cybercriminals rely extensively on websites for their scams, antivirus isn’t enough. It’s best to know before you click where it is safe to surf. McAfee® Mobile Security brings together comprehensive protection for your mobile device and data inside a single, simple solution. With one download, one web portal, and one device interface, you get a single security system for your mobile lifestyle.