Mobile security risks and solutions for Smartphones

Jun 14 2013

mobile securityA smartphone is a mobile phone built on a mobile operating system with more features than a regular phone. Mobile operating systems include Google’s Android, Apple’s IOS, Nokia’s Symbian, RIM’s Blackberry OS, Microsoft’s Windows phone and so on.[break2]Every time we use our smartphone, we basically have in our hands a device performing a lot of tasks (email, browsing, instant messaging, online payments, social networks, pictures and video sharing, edit and view documents and so on).
All these benefits have security risks as well because of the data stored and transmitted.
Here are some risks associated with mobile security and simple solutions to implement for increasing the data security level.
1. Automatic blockage of the smartphone
This option is available on all smartphones by protecting access to the device by creating and requiring an access code. Once an access code is set, the smartphone does not allow access to its functions until the access code has been accepted. Some devices have available an option to automatically erase all data after typing the access code more than a specified number of times.
2. Backup, backup, backup!
Use the backup software given by each smartphone manufacturer. Some manufacturers are offering automatic Cloud backup solutions that can be setup as often as you like to backup the device.
3. Always make sure your smartphone is running the latest software version
OS updates are always improving performance, stability, new features as well as alot of security issues. All these updates can be done online. It is recommended to always install all available updates and set up the phone to check daily for updates.
4. Deactivate “Discovery” mode of the Bluetooth feature
Most people leave the Bluetooth feature on all the time which allows the phone to be detected. If your device security settings are not properly setup, the phone will always be available for new connections with other Bluetooth devices up to 100m (for Bluetooth 3.0 and 4.0). Wrong security settings will facilitate access to the data stored in the phone via Bluetooth.It is recommended to deactivate Bluetooth if not used. This way you avoid any major security issues and you smartphone’s battery will last longer. If Bluetooth is needed, after you have connected the smartphone to the needed Bluetooth devices, you can set up the Bluetooth service to only be visible to the paired device (this way the service can stay up, but not visible to others).
5. Avoid using public hotspots
Using smartphones in Wi-Fi public locations poses a high risk as it is very easy to intercept communications (sniffing techniques) or access the phones. It is recommended using secure wireless networks or the mobile network of the provider which is secured.
6. Careful which applications (apps) are downloaded and installed
There are a lot of apps available for each smartphone type. Although all apps are tested before available in the app stores, there are situations when apps are known as legitimate but once installed they transmit confidential data or erase data. We recommend selecting carefully the applications before installing them. Check out the reviews and ratings before installing an app.
7. Use secure connections on the smartphone browser
We recommend using the SSL browsing everywhere it is available. This way the data transmitted between the smartphone and site are encrypted increasing the security level. We recommend using SSL even for the applications installed (Facebook, Twitter and so on) and for all sites with online payments.
8. Do not open links received by SMS messages
SMS messages from unknown numbers can contain links to Web sites containing malware. We recommend not opening any links received from unknown or suspect sources.
9. Do not save passwords on the smartphone/ tablet
Many people are using smartphones as personal agenda saving notes such as passwords for accessing sites, servers, apps. If the phone is lost or stolen, all data is accessible. In case you really want to save confidential data in the device, use specialized apps (password keeper). This way all confidential data is encrypted and accessible only if the correct password is typed.
10. Install antivirus software
There are plenty of antivirus solutions available for each device type. Some of them are free, some have a small fee. Read the reviews and we recommend installing an antivirus solution on each smartphone. This way, you have an extra protection layer on the phone ensuring the data stored on the phone is safe.
There’s lots to keep in mind…if you are concerned about data security or would like to learn more, please contact the experts at Mantralogix – we’re here to help keep your data as safe as possible!

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