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Cyber Security is a Necessity for your Phone, too: Tips for Staying Safe

Hackers used to focus mainly on servers, laptops and desktops. But with most people using their smartphones for tasks like bill pay, email and banking, thieves are targeting people on their mobile devices more than ever. 

October is Cyber Security Awareness Month. We’re bringing you a few tips to keep the information on your phone safe. 

No one is immune – secure your device!

  • Repeat this to yourself until you believe it – “It can happen to anyone – even me.” 
  • Use a PIN or keylock code with at least 8 characters. Mix uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters if possible to secure your device. Don’t choose the obvious. Avoid your birthday, anniversary, “password1,”common phrases, or sequences such as 12345678.
  • Download security software like NowSecure MobileSkycure or Find My iPhone and Android Device Manager. Use one or more for malware, spam and firewall protection. These apps also make it possible to encrypt your files, lock or wipe your device remotely. And if the software has GPS capabilities, it can show you the location of a device if it’s lost or stolen. 

Take precautions when using public Wi-Fi or Bluetooth

Using Wi-Fi when available is a great way to maximize your high-speed data and increase download speeds… but it also could leave you vulnerable to attackers. 

  • Verify the network name with a staff member (or look for signage) before connecting to public Wi-Fi at your favorite coffee house, airport or hotel.
  • Turn off “file sharing toggle” before connecting. Click here to learn how.
  • Install HTTPS Everywhere – a Firefox, Chrome and Opera extension that encrypts your communications with many major websites. This makes your browsing more secure.
  • Log off and tell your device to “forget” the network so your phone won’t automatically connect next time you are in range.

 

Take precaution

  • Never click on links sent by an unknown person via email, text, IM or social networks.
  • Never divulge personal information, such as social security number, account information, passwords or credit card information, to unknown people online – even when it looks like it’s coming from a trusted organization. Click here to learn more about “spoofing” and “phishing.”
  • Do not answer or return calls from numbers you do not recognize. Let the call roll into voicemail. If they don’t leave a voicemail, don’t call them back. Click here to learn more about the “one-ring callback scam.”
  • Beware of unsolicited callers demanding payment – especially from a government agency. The ones to avoid are generally very assertive and threaten criminal prosecution for failure to comply.
  • Hang up immediately if you suspect it’s fraud. If you’re torn and want to be sure, run a web search on the number. An agency or fraud alert should pop up. If you suspect you owe such money to the agency they claim to be, call them directly at their published number and verify. 
  • Wipe your device and reset to factory settings before discarding your device or trading it in. 
  • If it sounds fishy, it probably is.  Trust your gut. 

Do your homework – check out Cricket’s Fraud Protection page.