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Mobile Safety Tips - the latest party essential

10th January 2013

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Students like to party and rather than waking up to find your mobile phone missing after a great night out, and let’s face it many of us have woken up with mobile horrors, it’s a great time to make sure your phone is kept safe from nifty pickpockets and cyber criminals.

Mobile safetyA stolen or lost phone can have severe repercussions not just on who now has access to your images, but also your statements, apps and personal data – your life basically. With the rising popularity of smartphones, your mobile has become an increasingly attractive ‘gift’ to cybercriminals as well as those who want to profit from selling on a stolen phone.

If we look at all the things that we use our mobile phone for – from banking and shopping, to gaming and watching videos, there is also a multitude of ways in which a cybercriminal can attack your mobile phone. It is easier to attack a mobile than a PC because phones are already connected to some kind of payment method, meaning that small amounts of revenue can be siphoned off from user accounts in the guise of premium SMS, usually without you noticing until your monthly statement arrives or you have a lack of credits on mobile phone.

Here are a few tips to keep your mobile phone safe, and in the event you do lose your phone, how to keep your data and money safe:

  1. Lock, locate and wipe - As a must-do, you should always back-up you mobile devices before you travel as well as install a lock, locate and wipe feature so that if your mobile device is lost or stolen, you can easily block access to your device, find the device, and then quickly wipe its data remotely to avoid data theft. 
  2. Password protection - Password protection should also be enabled on any mobile device  – and that means avoiding using obvious passwords like ‘12345678’ or ‘password’ or even ‘admin’.  Instead, why not opt for an alphanumeric mix with special characters in upper and lower cases such as ‘puppyLove567$’ or ‘passphrases’ like ‘Man#Uwrkngwell4ever!’ (Manchester United Working Well Forever) which are much harder to guess but easier for you to remember. 
  3. Take what you need  -  You don’t need the kitchen sink when you are out and about and the same goes for anything on your mobile devices – take only what you need!Save only the documents or files that you need for that day to limit what the criminal can actually access if the device is stolen or hacked. If a smartphone has Internet access, you should be reminded to enable filters and other onboard protection barriers. Similarly, turning off GPS capabilities can also limit location-trackers attempting to connect with phones.  Checking into a location also gives burglars the knowledge that you are not home, and Christmas is a great time to go steal all the presents you may have under the tree.
  4. Be aware of social media - Often cybercrime threats can be very sophisticated and sneaky. Cybercriminals are finding it very convenient to distribute their malware straight to mobile devices by utilising popular social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Android is a key target in particular as it’s one of the most popular phone platforms. 
So, stay mobile safe, visit to download what you need for free to ensure you have a hassle free festive season.

by Tony Anscombe, senior evangelist and online security experts, AVG Technologies

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