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Mobile Phone Security

Mobile phones are really pocket-sized computers. Many of the same security precautions used to protect your desktop or laptop computer should also be applied to your mobile phone.

Set a screen or keypad lock

Set a screen lock on your phone or use a passcode to lock the keypad. The options for screen and keypad locks will vary based on your phone model. A screen lock or passcode is an initial security layer that will prevent access if an unauthorized person picks up your phone. Set the length of delay between the last key press or screen touch and the automatic screen timeout (dim and lock). You will want the device screen to turn off and lock up shortly after the last key or touch, a minute or less for maximum safety.

Do not store Login IDs or Passwords

If a website or application offers the option to “remember” or save your Login ID or password, always decline. Do not store your mobile banking Login ID and Password in your mobile phone.

Employ strong passwords

Use a combination of letters, numbers and/or special characters of 8 characters or more. Avoid using dictionary words. Change your passwords frequently--at least once every six months. Use different passwords for different online accounts.

Use caution when browsing the Internet on your mobile phone

Limit your browsing to well-known, trusted websites. Only download from sources you trust. Do not click on webpage links unless you are on a reputable website.

For Smartphones, check the permissions of an application (APP) before downloading it. The Android Market will prompt you to check permissions for the APP before you approve the download. If an APP has suspicious permissions, don't download it.

Websites that provide or request confidential information should be encrypting that data to keep it secure. To confirm the site is encrypting sensitive data, verify that the website address begins with https:// and not just http:// The s in https means that you're connected to the site via the Secure Socket Layer (SSL).

Always use the proper logoff procedure when exiting from a website that requires login id and password. Do not close the browser without first logging off.

Update your mobile phone software

Make sure your phone software is up-to-date (operating system, browser, and applications). Almost every release of software patches a number of security vulnerabilities. Your wireless provider can assist you with questions on updating your phone’s software.

Install security software

Install security software on your Smartphone to protect it from viruses, spyware, and malware. Smartphones can be infected by content delivered across the Internet connection, or from an infected PC when the phone is connected to the PC over USB to sync data. Set your mobile phone security software to update and auto scan daily. If the security software includes a Real Time Scanner and a Scan Text Message feature, make sure both are active. There are a number of free security programs as well as programs that you can purchase. Ask your phone vendor for recommendations.

Be Cautious about using Blue Tooth and Wi-Fi

Avoid using unsecured public Wi-Fi networks for confidential Internet activity such as online purchases, paying bills, and online banking. To minimize potential security issues, turn off Blue Tooth and Wi-Fi on your phone when you are not using these services. With Blue Tooth and Wi-Fi disabled, the Internet can only be accessed through your Smartphone wireless carrier’s 3G or 4G network.

Enable Remote Wipe

If you have a Smartphone, enable remote wipe or ‘poison pill’ functionality. This allows you to remotely erase data on a Smartphone if it has been stolen. This feature may come pre-installed on your phone, or you can download an app and/or configure remote wipe through an online service.

Notify your wireless provider if your phone is lost or stolen

Notify your wireless service provider immediately if your phone is lost or stolen. Your provider can inform you of what options you have, including disabling the phone.

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