Protecting Your Cell Phones From Hackers

News of cyber attacks consumes the media almost daily. Hackers are targeting businesses to obtain and sell data from personal and organizational computer databases.

But what about your mobile device?

The Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project found that cell phone ownership among adults has exceeded 90%. Many use them for not only pleasure, but also for business, too.

Why does that matter? You most likely have sensitive company data stored on your phone.

So what measures can you take to protect your personal privacy as well as sensitive company information?

Password protect.

We know, we’ve said that a million times and we will say it a million more. While passwords can sometimes be fairly easy to break, they are the first line of defense in protecting your mobile device. To make your password even stronger, enable your auto-lock feature so that when your phone is put away, it is protected in the event that you were to lose it. Locking your phone can be a huge factor in allowing yourself time to wipe it remotely before a thief can break into it. Lastly, you can activate the data erase function by setting the number of failed passcodes. Once the number is exceeded, all data on your phone will be erased.

Keep everything up to date.

Failing to maintain the most recent version of your apps and the phone’s operating system makes you more vulnerable. When apps are first released there are often security flaws resulting in updated versions to patch the vulnerabilities. Keep your software up to date by downloading updates as soon as they are released. Additionally, never install apps from third party sellers. Read the reviews and ensure the app and the developer are legit. Malware such as viruses and trojans can come in the form of apps or piggy back with them.

Don’t store sensitive work data.

Many companies have clauses regarding what you are allowed to store on your phone. For example, a company may say you can check your business email but that it must remain logged out when not in use. Failure to comply with your company’s rules and regulations regarding security measures could result in big losses for your company.

Read it and delete it.

Do you receive company info via text? Read it and delete it. Unless you have a good reason to keep sensitive company data on your phone, delete it as soon as possible.

Avoid opening unfamiliar links.

Shady links? Just say no. Gut feeling that it may not be legit? Listen to your gut and pause for a moment before proceeding. It may be tempting to click on a link promising you a good bargain or a video of something mind-blowing, but these links may pose threats to your mobile device and any sensitive data it contains.

Consider encryption.

If you are using your mobile device for work, talk to your IT person about enabling encryption and/or Mobile Device Management (MDM) in place to protect private company data. Having your data encrypted means it is better protected and can only be accessed with an encryption key should you lose your device.

Resist public Wi-Fi.

Stick to what you know is secure. One thing that is not secure? Public Wi-Fi. Open networks are risky and incredibly easy for others to access your private and company data. Public Wi-Fi even allows hackers to hijack your device through apps with malicious links. In fact, some public Wi-Fi isn’t even real; it’s someone who created what may look exactly like the genuine thing only they have the goal of snaring unsuspecting victims. This is what’s known as a “man-in-the-middle” attack.

Be web wise.

Your gut is always right. If you get a text or email that doesn’t seem right, it probably isn’t. Stay on top of current trends. Ensure you remain informed of the latest updates for your device and what to do if something were to happen.


Cell phone ownership hits 91% of adults