Living in a connected world with our devices has made things more convenient than ever.  We can use our phones as wallets, and use tablets to work on virtually anywhere.  Devices can now act as our own personal ID markers to make logging into applications online or in an actual place as quick as ever.  Using data such as our fingerprint, or even just our faces we can log into websites, or even buy items at the grocery store.  Considering the valuable data that is on our phones, protecting these devices has become as important as ever.

Our phones are are just like small computers, many times more advanced than the cell phones from the early 2000's.  This has the advantage of letting us do more on our phones, but it also means like our computers, our phones also become vulnerable to hacks, and malware which can expose our data.  So we've completed a list which highlight some of the biggest concerns to mobile device security and how you can protect yourself from these problems.

Using a Pin or Passcode

The simplest and first line of defense to protecting your phone is to enable to PIN key or passphrase to unlock your device.  Recent research has found that up to 54% of smartphone users do not enable even a basic PIN to unlock their phone.  A PIN can require as few as 4 numbers to unlock the phone or device, which can require as many as 10'000 guesses to work. Although there are more secure way's to unlock your phone without even needing a PIN.  These methods can include drawing a pattern, or entering a complete word or phrase.  Newer phones allow for biometrics like using your fingerprint or even just your face in order to unlock and access your device.

Securing Your Data

Although setting a PIN or passphrase to unlock your device is a good start, it's not the only way that hackers or unwanted persons can access your data.  If you physically lose your device or it's stolen, then it can still be plugged into a computer and the data can be retrieved that way.  Many device providers and carriers offer options for finding, or turning off the phone from a computer.  Apple's iCloud and Google allow users to manage their phone and even remotely wipe their data from it if it gets lost or stolen.

If you have a phone that stores data internally however, there are other options like encrypting the data on the phone directly.  Many phones allow users to encrypt the data on the phones storage which requires a password to read if retrieved using a computer.  Many apps such as Signal, WhatsApp, or Syph focus on encrypting your messages, videos, and voice messages, but other apps like CryptoMater offer a service which encrypts your files between your device and the cloud.

Wireless Security

Virtually all mobile devices such as phones and tablets offer a way to connect to a wireless network.  And when a wireless connection is not available most devices can rely on using the data provided over their phones network.  This allows us to be always connected to the internet letting us receive email, watch videos, listen to music and more from almost anywhere.  Though many hackers today can use their computers or their own devices to spoof networks, or even high jack your devices data connection.

Some bad actors will set up shop in a public location like an air port, or a coffee shop and replicate an internet connection with their own computer or device hoping others will connect to it by mistake.  This can allow the bad actor to retrieve anything from your device you may be using such as Credit Card information, contacts, or any other data remotely.  Users can protect themselves from these kinds of threats by employing a VPN (Virtual Private Network) that can protect your data when you are online in a public space.

Using Bluetooth

Although bluetooth connections are considered safer, they can still be susceptible to attack from nearby.  Bluetooth is thought to be safer because of the close proximity in which someone needs to be, roughly 10 meters, in order to connect.  Although with mobile devices becoming more the norm everyday, we find ourselves in public spaces that put us in closer proximity to others than we often realize, making this a more attractive method for hackers to use.  The best way to protect yourself from these types of attacks is to only use bluetooth when it's needed.  If your not using a bluetooth enabled device, then it's better to turn it off on your phone or other mobile device.

Use Caution When Downloading Applications

With the explosion of the App Market on the Android and iOS virtual stores there are more software applications available than ever before.  Although these markets were once curated and approved of after a rigorous process, the sheer volume in which these applications were being made has forced device platforms to be less scrupulous in developers requirements and needs allowing applications that may be infected with malware to become prevalent on these stores.  Always check the requirements that an application asks for before installing it.  Read reviews of the applications to ensure it hasn't caused anyone else's device to act in a strange manner, and remember that not every application you install needs to have access to things like location data, or contacts for example.

Following the guidelines we point out above should help protect your data and phone from unwanted hacks or malicious users from accessing the data from your phone.  Although there are always new methods being developed by hackers to compromise data from a phone, a computer, or almost any device that can be connected to the internet.  Which is why we recommend having many options available to protect your device.

If you have any questions or concerns about the data security for yourself, or your company, we want to hear from you!  You can always contact us for more information about keeping your data safe.