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Protect Your Mobile

Phones are at risk, and not just from theft

Mobile phones, especially smart phones and phones with Bluetooth, are at risk from a number of electronic attacks as well as traditional risks like theft and absent-minded people.

Why protect your mobile phone?

Besides the usual risks with mobile phones:

• Theft or loss.
• Disclosure of private contacts.
• Fraudulent use of your account.

The new generation of smart phones and phones with wireless connections and access to the Internet present new information security challenges:

• The (small but growing) risk of smart phone viruses.
• An equally small (but also growing) risk of phishing by phone.
• Accessing private information over a Bluetooth wireless network.
• The fraudulent use of your data connection over a Bluetooth link.
• Accessing usernames and passwords that were stored to your device while using the Internet.

Internet on your smart phone

An increasing number of mobile phones are able to access the Internet. You can access most of the Internet in much the same way you can at home or at work and in the same way that you should protect yourself online when on your PC, you should consider doing the same when online on your mobile phone.

For example, whenever you visit a web site or type in your personal information a record of it is saved to your device. This recorded data might include usernames and passwords. They could be for your online banking, payment services or your social networking sites like Face book, Twitter or MySpace. If your mobile phone was lost or stolen, anyone who found it would be able to access all that information at a click of a button.

Be Password Smart

• Use the PIN or passcode function to secure your handset. Don’t rely on the default factory settings - create a combination that won’t easily be guessed by others, and set your device up so that it automatically locks if you haven’t used it for a few minutes

• Make sure any application you use does not store your log-in details or allow automatic log-in

• Never store reminders of your logins and passwords in your contacts or in texts

Keep Safe

• When using your smart phone to browse the Internet don't save usernames and passwords if given the option, in particular those used to access online banking or payment service sites.

• If your phone allows you to run applications downloaded from the Internet, make sure you understand the risks of doing so and are not led into the trap of downloading hoax or illegal software that could contain a virus.

• Use the same care accessing your smart phone in public as you would a PC in public.

• Avoid online banking in busy public areas. Passers-by could be watching what you are typing (known as shoulder-surfing).

• Although using the mobile Internet is more accessable in public on a mobile phone, if you are connecting over an un-secure Wi-Fi connection you need to understand the risks. These threats could be, the theft of your data as it passes through the air or the ability of a criminal to re-direct you to a website that then tries to infect you with a mobile virus. If you are using Wi-Fi in a public place, make sure it is secure or is a subscribed service.

• Periodically check on your service-providers website to see whether there are any updates for your particular make and model of phone.

Protect Personal Details

• Think twice about any personal information you store on your phone. 59% of smart phone owners admit that they store their home telephone number as ‘Home’ in their mobile device – determined fraudsters may call the number, purporting to be someone else, and use the conversation to find out more details about you

• Think carefully about what information you share online and how it could be misused. Your smart phone holds a great deal of personal information in a single place, making life very easy for fraudsters. So, it’s not just about what you put on your social networking profile, but also that it’s probably easy to work out who you bank with, where you’ve recently made transactions, the names of your family and to collect other details from emails or other documents

Protect against theft

• If you lose your phone or it is stolen, report it to your mobile phone provider immediately or call police as soon as possible,

• Your mobile phone provider can easily re-enable phone.

• Make a note of your IMEI number. This will allow your operator to disable a phone. Type *#06# into your handset to get the IMEI number.

• Use a security lock or PIN number if your phone allows it.

• Mark your phone with a 'ring this number if found' and give an alternative number for you to be contacted.

• Avoid printing you address on the phone. If it has been stolen, the thief already has far too much information about you. Don't give them your legacy as well.

• Stay alert when using your phone in a busy area. This is when most phones are stolen.

• Register your phone – if it gets recovered by the police after being lost or stolen, there’s a better chance of it being reunited with the rightful owner