Human curiosity is a strong desire, and when coupled with the fact that mobile devices like iPhones, Blackberries and Android devices are packed with more personal information than the standard wallet, chances are you aren’t doing as much as you can to protect yourself.
When Symantec did a study that purposely “lost” 50 cellphones in popular cities like New York, Washington DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the results were staggering. For 83 percent of the devices, whoever picked them up had no problems with attempting to access corporate-related applications or data.
Most people don’t think twice about purchasing the extended warranty for their mobile device, but it never occurs to them to implement software-based security on the device in the event it is lost or stolen. Here are five easy tips to keep your private data safe should you misplace your smartphone:
- Most devices have a “screen lock” feature built in – you just need to turn it on. Choose a simple password or pattern, decide how much time should pass before the device auto-locks, and you’ve taken the first step to preventing unauthorized access.
- Find and install a legitimate “remote wipe” application. This allows you to remove all data on the device when you don’t have access to it. But do your research first – make sure the app is from a reputable source.
- Don’t allow mobile banking applications to store your password. The few seconds it takes to input your PIN number or online banking passphrase when you check your balance could be all it takes to prevent a stranger from accessing your financial data.
- Don’t store your home address in your GPS app. You already know where you live – what you need your GPS to guide you to is a familiar sight. Save a nearby convenience store, church or gas station as your “home” address so that a thief can’t use your phone to take a voice-guided trip to your front door.
- Treat your phone like luggage: Don’t leave it unattended. Don’t let a stranger take it out of your line of sight. Give it some defining characteristics that help it stand out as “yours,” like a unique case or wallpaper.
Finally, be sure to back up your phone regularly. The good thing about today’s digital world is that as long as you plan accordingly, you won’t really “lose” your data.