Smart phones and online safety

The evolution of Smart phones made many of our daily tasks easier– from checking e-mail to shopping to banking. A recent survey revealed that 75% of middle and high school students owned smart phones. One of the greatest concerns about the proliferation of smart phone use is the protection of privacy. Smart phones are just like mini PC; it should be handled with much safety. There are a number of ways to protect a Smartphone.

Webindia solutions will recommend certain tips regarding the safety of Smart phone.

Use a PIN/Key lock


Many new phones offer a “pattern lock” – a personalized shape or pattern that is drawn on the screen to grant access. And this is often faster and less hassle than entering a password. Alternatively a PIN code offers a numeric alternative to a standard password and can also save time. Obviously a password that is easy to guess is less secure – so avoid “1234”, “password” and other common phrases. Setting up a SIM card lock in the form of a PIN number that can be entered; when a phone is turned on in order to connect to a network prevents the hackers from using the simcard on another phone.

Bluetooth


It’s a good idea to set default Bluetooth configuration to “non-discoverable” mode by default. This means that users around you who are searching for potential targets won’t see your device pop up on their list. Any unknown requests that come through via a Bluetooth connection; such as a request to “pair” with a device or respond to a message from an unknown source should be ignored or declined.

Protect sensitive data


Simply preventing someone from being able to turn a phone ONN isn’t sufficient anymore; as it’s far too easy to retrieve data by simply plugging it into a computer or removing a microSD card. To prevent this, protective data should be stored in internal storage. Most Smartphone platforms offer softwares that can encrypt files or folders on a device with industry-standard protection; which means that, a code must be entered before a file can be viewed or copied. This also goes for information such as passwords, login details, account numbers and other information that may be saved for access to online banks or merchants.

Most of these softwares are free to download and use and can work effectively with your phone to provide automated and seamless protection. In addition to this sort of software, we recommend that sensitive data can be stored remotely on secure online servers; rather than on the phone itself. This means that physical data on a phone that could not be accessed, but in the event of a handheld being lost or stolen it’s easy to change the login details for the server or remove the data altogether.

Wireless Network


Most Smartphone’s now have the option of connecting to wireless networks – be this a router in the office or home. The first thing to remember is to always switch off a wireless connection when it’s not in use. Apart from helping you save on battery power, it ensures that malicious parties can’t connect to a device without your knowledge. It’s also worth taking a browse through a phone’s network security settings as it might be configured to automatically connect to a network when in range.

Caution with application


You should be cautious while dealing with applications such as web browsers; as there are options for simply accepting qualifying messages that pop up when you’re online. There may be provision for agreeing to save user details and passwords when logging into websites for future access may be convenient; but makes it very easy for those accessing an unprotected phone to do the same. This is particularly important when it comes to online banks and merchants; as these sites often have bank account details saved automatically under your username and would make it easy for others to make unwanted purchases or transactions.

In addition users should pay attention to any potential security warnings that may be displayed when viewing websites, particularly if accessing them through unknown wireless networks, and not just dismiss these without thought. Web pages that involve the entry of sensitive data such as a username, password or account details should always use encrypted protocols to protect this information. This can be confirmed by the presence of an “s” at the end of “http” at the start of a webpage URL (https://) or a visible padlock icon on the status bar of a browser to confirm that the connection is encrypted. It’s a good idea to get into the habit of looking for these when using any websites that have requested personal detail.

Rooting your phone


Rooting a phone essentially involves modifying the file system to allow users access to read-only files. And parts of the operating system that the manufacturer or service provider don’t want you to change. It is usually only done by “experts”, who should therefore be aware of the potential dangers; but if someone offers to root a phone for you while citing the benefits; it’s important to be aware of the security risks as well. Applications that have requested root access could, for example, record keystrokes entered on an on-screen keyboard, delete or copy data. Make phone calls to premium numbers or install “pseudo” applications that look like the real thing; but have ulterior motives in mind.

Security software


Security software can help you avoid many of the potential dangers associated with Smartphones. And modern suites are tailor-made to address issues that are unique to handhelds. As well as offering more standard malware; spam and firewall protection this software can help you control your phone from afar and if it has GPS capabilities; can show you the location of a device if it is lost or stolen.

Furthermore, it’s possible to lock a device remotely; requiring password access on the handset or a specific unlock request to enable it. If a phone has simply been misplaced in the home; an audible alert request can be sent to the device to signal its location. And it’s even possible to erase sensitive data remotely if you’re sure it has found its way into the wrong hands.

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