Over the years, mobile devices have become increasingly popular, connecting people to each other and to a wealth of online information. According to the Pew Research Center, in 2016:
- 95 percent of American adults owned a cell phone, compared to 62 percent in 2002,
- 78 percent own tablets, compared to 3 percent in 2010; and
- 22 percent own e-reader devices, compared to 2 percent in 2009.
While the the growth in mobile devices offers great convenience and increased efficiency for the on-the-go user, it also poses new security threats, as cyber criminals have ramped up their attacks against these gadgets.
Your mobile devices aren’t going to automatically secure themselves and that means you should be ready to protect them and your personal data. Here are a few helpful security tips:
- Lock all of your devices. Secure your devices with a strong password, pattern or biometric authentication. This will ensure that if you happen to lose your phone, the average criminal wouldn’t be able to access your personal information.
- Update your devices. Make sure that all software on your mobile devices are updated to the latest version available. Software and system updates fix security vulnerabilities and provide you with protection against viruses and malware infections.
- Beware of free public Wi-Fi. Public connections aren’t secure and you wouldn’t want to perform an important action (e.g., banking transaction) online. If you need to access your account, disable the Wi-Fi and switch to your mobile network.
- Watch for observers or shoulder surfers. The most basic form of information theft is observation. Be aware of your surroundings and cover your screen when you’re punching in sensitive information, such as your screen lock, passwords or pin numbers.
- Check your Bluetooth and GPS access. Disable these two settings on your devices when they’re not in use. This will help ensure that people aren’t able to connect to your phone for any reason.
- Review phone apps regularly. Remove any apps you don’t use and make sure to only buy or install new apps from trusted sources. Avoid any applications that ask for unnecessary access to your personal information or location.
To learn more ways to secure your devices, see Mobile Device Security.