Securing Your Mobile Connection is Easier than You Think

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Did you know that ransomware can infect your mobile phone? Even though the national news keeps us aware of the viruses and malware attacking computer networks around the globe, a lot of us remain oblivious to the cyberthreats looming over our mobile devices--including ransomware.

Ransomware, as this earlier BI Blog post explains, is a malicious virus which, once unleashed, virtually takes over (or "encrypts") every file and function on your computer and won't give you access until you pay a ransom. This could be hundreds, thousands, or hundreds of thousands of dollars, most often requested in the form of a cryptocurrency like Bitcoin.

The same thing could happen to your mobile phone. However, you can take these steps today to shield your device from the evil cyberthieves:

Update, Update, Update!

First and foremost make sure your software, operating system, and applications are up to date. Most of these updates include security enhancements. Your mobile phone does have a firewall built in, but like any wall it needs maintenance.

Avoid Dangerous Downloads

Only download apps from trusted sources such as the Apple Store and Google Play, which test for malicious applications. Always read the description before downloading an app to ensure you're not granting access to information like your contact list or email if there's no real reason for the request.

Woah There, WiFi

Turn off your device's automatic WiFi connection and Bluetooth connection settings when you're not using them. Think about the router you are connecting to. What are the odds that it was installed by a professional? If configured correctly at setup, each user should be isolated from each other, but why take a risk?

Password Protocol

Are you guilty of using the same password for everything? You may want to consider resetting them with different more difficult passwords, such as instead of “password123” use “P@ss_W0rd!” use uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters. Afraid you can't keep up with all of them? Try using a password manager app (that you've securely downloaded from a legitimate store, of course).

Saving Sensitive Stuff

Be aware of what information you are saving on your phone and be cautious of what you save to your "cloud." Delete texts, emails, and photos that contain sensitive information after you are finished using it.

Tips for the Techy

If you're familiar with the latest lingo, you'll definitely understand the following recommendations:

  • When it's necessary to use public WiFi remember to login through a VPN (Virtual Private Network) which connects through a public internet network but encrypts your data so that anyone snooping or intercepting the data cannot read it. Oh, and guess what? There are apps for that!
  • Another encryption used by many institutions to secure your sensitive information is an SSL, or Secure Sockets Layer. You have probably seen these connections without even knowing it. They're easy to spot once you know what you are looking for. The web address on your browser will simply read “https” instead of “http” when you are connected through an SSL. Transmitting data securely over SSLs is very safe, as they are double encrypted.
  • You can download anti-virus apps for your mobile phone as an added protection. They work much like anti-virus software for your desktop or laptop computer and keep a constant check on your data.

The Spy Who Spoofed Me

To take security to the next level, use biometrics. If you are into spy movies, this one is for you. Cell phone companies actively experiment with this level of security with innovations like Touch ID and voice recognition. Up-and-coming biometric securities are face and eye scans as forms of authentication. Who knew we would have this kind of technology in our pockets?

Arm your device by thinking ahead and taking precautions to protect yourself and your data. Keep everything updated, use secure connections and tough passwords to guard your sensitive information. Don’t let cyber thieves even stand a chance at stealing your data or locking up your device with ransomware. These easy steps could save you a huge headache and instead give you some peace of mind 


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Bank Independent does not endorse, nor is responsible for the content in the linked 3rd party websites. Bank Independent's privacy policies do not apply to these linked websites.