Mobile Security in 2015: How to Protect your Gadgets

by Matt Klassen on December 30, 2014

Market analysts have now told us that more people than ever before will have received a smartphone or tablet this holiday season, and now that those gadgets are unwrapped, well it’s time to talk about how to protect them. Like years before it, mobility in 2014 has been largely defined by security, or lack thereof, with enterprise and consumers alike struggling to protect private information, and truthfully, it looks like 2015 will be no different.

But that’s not to say that we’re all helpless victims against the monstrous cyber-criminals of the world, as every smartphone now comes equipped with a host of security options, leaving the onus on users to actually deploy them properly.

Saying nothing about the general sloth regarding the activation of such security and the general annoyance they cause those who use their smartphone constantly, if you want to establish a strong mobile bulwark against cyber-criminals perhaps your New Year’s resolution should be to actually use the security you have, that or perhaps pledge to not be surprised (or angry) when your security plan of positive thinking goes horribly awry.

Physical Loss

While security professionals would tell us that cyber-criminals are lurking behind every corner, it’s far more likely that your device will be lost rather than stolen. In either case, there are several steps you can take to protect yourself against losing your mobile device: 1) Set up the “Find My Phone” function, available on most phones. If your phone doesn’t have it, find a reputable third-party app that delivers the same function. With this in place it’s relatively easy to brick up (render useless) our lost phone or tablet. 2) Set a PIN. This is quite possibly the most annoying and oft overlooked security feature your phone has, particularly because you have to enter it every time you use your device. But annoyance aside, it’s a great deterrent. But don’t forget to set a PIN for your SIM card as well, no sense in protecting your phone if all a thief has to do is pop out your SIM card to access your private info.

As a brief aside, if this holiday season has you now switching to a new device, don’t forget to take the necessary steps to delete everything on the old one, noting that often times the default wipe feature still leaves a lot of information behind.

Malware

Mobile malware is now as prevalent and sophisticated as anything we’ve seen on a PC before; with the added downside that mobile security is generally nowhere near as effective or widely deployed as on a PC. But again, your smartphone or tablet is nothing if not a pocket computer, so protect it like one.

Now it should come as no surprise that the most likely way of malware arriving on your mobile device is, well, you! Installing malicious apps is the number one method for malware intrusion, so not only should you be wary of what you install and what websites you visit, but again, run a trusted mobile security program to help identify and eliminate threats.

Controlling Connectivity

Finally, with the widespread dispersal of Wi-Fi hotspots if can be tempting to utilize the often free Internet connection rather than connecting to that expensive mobile network, but of course, Wi-Fi has its risks. The problem with the use of public Wi-Fi is that you have no control over the connection, meaning there are plenty of opportunities along the way for your information to get intercepted. While there’s little you can do to actually protect yourself on a public network, be wary of what you transmit and where you are connecting.

If there’s one ironclad prediction I can make about 2015 it’s that issues with mobile security and personal privacy will only continue to get worse, but with that said, there are an infinite amount of things you can do to mitigate the threat of cyber-crime, knowing that the harder you make it for people to gain access to your mobile device, the less likely they are to even try.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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