Mobile Device Security Tips

If you use a smart phone (Android, BlackBerry, iPhone, Windows Mobile), tablet (iPad, Android), or other mobile device, consider taking some or all of the following precautions:

  • Avoid storing confidential or otherwise sensitive information—passwords, bank account or credit card numbers, etc.—on a mobile device, because it’s more likely to be lost or stolen than a computer. If you do choose to store such information on your device, make sure you use an application that encrypts the information, and choose a strong password.
  • Keep your device software up-to-date. Apply application and operating system updates when they are released. Uninstall unused applications.
  • Back up the information on your device, or make sure that it’s synced with online services. Be sure you understand what information is synced automatically and what information has to be backed up manually, and plan accordingly.
  • Set a PIN, password, or security pattern on the device, and configure the device to require it to be entered after a certain period of inactivity (e.g., 5 minutes). Some devices also offer a feature that will erase the information on the device if someone makes repeated attempts to unlock it using the wrong password, but if you choose to enable this feature, make sure you have backups!
  • Be careful about the information you keep in text messages. Even if you don’t have a smart phone with Internet capabilities, it’s possible to get important information, or even new passwords and access codes, “texted” to your cell. Delete text messages that contain sensitive information.
  • Only install apps from official app stores, and check online reviews to get a sense of the developer’s credibility. Some apps can host malware that will expose your sensitive information.
  • Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth if you aren’t using them. When using Wi-Fi, make sure you’re connecting to a known and trusted network.