Mobile devices have become so prevalent in 2016 that most people can’t imagine life without their smartphone, laptop or tablet. While mobile devices have become such a common part of daily life with increased access to information and flexibility, they can also pose risks to your digital identity and financial wellness.
While new threats are constantly emerging, there are a few simple ways to minimize everyday risks.
- While software updates for smartphones and mobile devices appear on a regular basis, it is important to ensure all updates are run in a timely manner. Many times software updates patch security vulnerabilities and help keep your information safe. Recently, Apple released a patch for its mobile software (iOS 9.3.5) to address a vulnerability that allowed certain software to invisibly track a target’s mobile device.2 Apple advised all customers to always download the latest version of iOS to protect themselves against potential security exploits.
- It is estimated that in 2016 in the United States, there are over 207 million smartphone users.1 When using a smartphone, always use a passcode or fingerprint ID to prevent others from accessing data. Only downloading apps and files from trusted sites or app stores can protect your device from malware. In addition, make sure the security configuration of the device is set to high as many times the security settings are set at the lowest level by default.
- When using a laptop or tablet, always use a password and ensure the device is locked whenever they are not in use or left unattended, even if just a few seconds. Make a permanent designation or identifying mark on all devices in the event a theft occurs. It is also a good practice to use a screen protector to protect personal data from wandering eyes.
- With the rise of mobile wallets such as Apple Pay, Android Pay or Samsung Pay, a new version of mobile fraud emerged. Since they first hit the market, the security on these services have improved, many times making just as, or more, secure than using a card in person.3 When using these types of services, make sure to use credit cards, rather than debit cards, as there are added consumer protections allowing the ability to dispute fraudulent charges before they are paid. Using a passcode or fingerprint verification to access these mobile wallets can also help to limit fraud.
Being mindful of Wi-Fi connections and only connecting to official provided hotspots can also increase security. Using secure and encrypted connections and turning Wi-Fi off when not in use can also be effective methods to reduce risk of threats.
For information on how you can protect your digital identity and establish financial wellness, visit MyPrivacyArmor.com.
3 http://www.isaca.org/groups/professional-english/pci compliance/groupdocuments/mobilepaymentswp.pdf