Smartphone Security: The 10 Dumbest Risks People Take

smartphone securityMany people take security precautions with their PC or laptop, but forget all about their smartphones. Some may think of their phone as nothing more than a phone, but in truth smartphones can perform all the online tasks that a PC or laptop does and are just as vulnerable to hackers and identity theft. Smartphone security really should be a priority, because there are extra risks as well. Smartphones are easy to lose, a lot easier than a PC or laptop. How many times has someone accidentally left their phone at a restaurant, in the bathroom, on the seat of a cab? If an ill-intentioned person finds that phone (or steals it), they may have access to much of the owner’s personal information including passwords, email addresses, account numbers and more.

Adam Levin, from credit.com, writes about the 10 common mistakes people make in regard to smartphone security (find the full article here).

The 10 Dumbest Smartphone Security Risks People Make

1-No Password Protection–This acts much like locking a car door. It might not be full proof, but it definitely a deterrent. It’s much easier to steal a phone without a password than to spend time hacking into a password protected phone.

2-Shopping Online with an Internet Browser— Many large companies have specific apps that you can use to shop at their store. Shopping through the apps provide more security than just using your Internet browser because they are specifically designed to guard against phishing and other scams. Just make sure the apps you download are true apps and not scams in and of themselves.

3-Remaining Logged In to Sensitive Apps— Many times people will forget to log out after using apps for sensitive accounts such as Paypal or Ebay. Make sure to always log out and never click on “Remember this ID” or anything that will save your username and password. If a thief gets a hold of your phone, all your sensitive information will be free for the taking.

4-Automatically Connecting to Any Wi-fi— Whether using a laptop, tablet or smartphone, hackers will have easy access if you allow your device to automatically connect to any wi-fi. Turn off the automatic feature and then be careful when using a public wi-fi connection.

5-Leaving Bluetooth Connections Open— Even though they need to be in close proximity, hackers can access open bluetooth connections. This could occur in many different places such as airports, restaurants, hotel lobbies, and stores.

6-Failing to Purge Data from Old Phones–This is a common mistake. Before donating, selling or getting rid of your phone, make sure that all your sensitive information is deleted. Once I bought a laptop from a pawnshop. I got a great deal and the laptop worked great, but when I went to favorite websites such as Amazon, Gmail and Netflix, the previous owners information was saved on the computer. It would have been so easy for me to have full access to his accounts. It is very dangerous to unintentionally give your sensitive information to whoever may happen to get your phone next.

7-Downloading Free Apps That Are Not Actually Free–You need to be aware of what apps you are downloading. Many scammers create apps that will allow them to gain sensitive information. Do your research, read reviews and make sure that the apps you download are from reputable sources.

8-Storing Sensitive Data on Phones— Many people store important information such as account numbers, contact info, social security numbers, account numbers, pins and passwords on their phones. Having this information on your phone, especially if it is not password-protected, can give hackers all the information they need to steal your identity.

9-Failing to Clear Browser History— Failing to clear your browser history can be just as dangerous as staying logged in to your accounts and sensitive apps.

10-No Remote Wiping Software— There are many apps and services that will help you locate your phone if it is lost or stolen. They also can wipe your phone clean of data, thus adding an extra protection against identity theft.

None of these security measures are full proof, but each one adds a layer of protection against identity theft. Even though there are many apps and programs that help guard against identity theft, the ultimate responsibility lies on the owner of the phone. Having common sense and taking precautions will be the best defense against identity theft through your smartphone.

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