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Smartphone security

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Use of smartphone handsets has risen sharply over the past couple of years, but while these devices offer added convenience, there are also added risks.

If you were to lose or have your mobile phone stolen, what sort of personal information would you be compromising? The reality is many smartphone users have not embraced the sort of security practices required given the increased amount of personal information being stored on their phones. The tiny memory cards in smartphone handsets store personal images, videos and other pieces of information that together, can form a detailed snapshot of your life - information scammers can use to illegally access your accounts, credit cards and more.

And if you think having a password to access your phone’s functions will provide enough security against fraudsters, think again. You also need to worry about securing the memory card on your phone. Several manufacturers offer technology that allows users to encrypt data on their phones - this might be in the form of applications that can be downloaded or an in-built function that might need to be switched on. You should refer to your phone’s user manual or manufacturer’s website to see if these services are supported.

There are several things we can all keep in mind when it comes to keeping information on our smartphone safe:

  • only use WiFi networks that are encrypted and set up your phone so that it requests confirmation of this encryption before it connects to a new network - remember that you should only do online banking over a trusted network
  • turn on security features offered by your handset and set a password to lock your phone when it’s not in use
  • never open attachments or download applications from untrusted sources
  • never store PINs or passwords on your phone - even if you think you’ve been clever with where you stored them
  • if you recycle or throw away your phone, make sure you delete all personal information, and
  • just like you keep your home computer or laptop up-to-date with Internet security software - apply this same principle to your smartphone.