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Mobile Device Security

Mobile Device Security

Technology with Integrity 

By Tim Torian, Torian Group, Inc. 


If you use your Phone or tablet for business, you may want to take a couple of minutes to review some security considerations and simple precautions you can take.

  1. Set a passcode with automatic lock. Newer devices have fingerprint readers which work well. Set your device to wipe data after too many failed logins. Increasing your pin from 4 to 5 digits greatly increases the security. A pin is required to activate built in encryption and remote wipe. Set an idle timeout that will automatically lock the device when not in use. Setting your device to lock is the single most important thing you can do.

  1. Hang on to it. Identify your phone – Fill out the owner info in settings, and set it to display when locked. If possible write your contact info on the case. Use a contact number or email not tied to your phone account. Record your phone’s unique ID - IMEI or MEID. Install or activate a “find my device” app.

  1. Should your device be lost, act immediately. To track down a missing Android phone, use a computer to access Android Device Manager. For Apple use Find My iPhone. Thieves will quickly get it off the network and remove the sim card. Report it to your phone vendor. A new law allows them to remotely wipe stolen devices. Many corporate mobile device managers also have remote wipe tools.

  1. Back up. Take inventory of your data, and determine what is automatically saved online. If you have an SD card, see if data stored there should be backed up. Use iCloud for Apple, and turn on Instant Upload for Android. Most devices also have tools to connect to your computer to do a full backup. Use a password manager to save your account logins.

  1. Download apps only from reliable sources (Google Play or the Apple store), and only those with large numbers of downloads. Although Android is known for malicious apps, Google monitors and removes malicious apps from their store fairly quickly. Use common sense.

  1. Purchase anti-malware software for your device. Trend and BitDefender both have good products. Consider www.lookout.com for Android.

  1. Public wireless can be hacked. Be careful where you surf. Change the default password on your wireless router, and use a complex passcode to connect. Make sure your device is not set to automatically attempt to connect to any nearby Wi-Fi signal.

  1. Use HTTPS when connecting to sensitive data, including email. Set up a VPN connection if you do online banking or make purchases from your phone. You may need to sign up with a VPN service if your business does not provide it. www.hotspotshield.com/ and www.purevpn.com are two options. Get help setting this up if needed. Online banking is a primary target for mobile malware.

  1. Beware of SMS scams. Don’t respond to messages from people you don’t know. You may find that you were charged, similar to 900 number phone scams. Don’t click on links unless you are sure it is not malicious. Like email, requests for personal information or for immediate action are almost always a scam.

  1. Turn off unused features. If you don’t use Bluetooth or infrared, turn it off. Uninstall unneeded Apps.

  1. Use a password manager such as www.lastpass.com or www.1password.com . Create unique complex passwords for your logins. The password manager also provides documentation for your accounts. Use two factor authentication where possible, such as Google authenticator. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_Authenticator) Use a separate email not on your mobile device for password recovery.

  1. Be careful of linked apps. Where possible don’t use your Google or Facebook account to log in to other Apps. Look in the security settings for each app. Most allow you to select unique passwords. If you save passwords on your device, be aware of the risks. Understand what permissions you are granting when installing an App, and configure privacy settings if needed.

  1. Be careful what you share. This should be obvious. Posting your location also tells the world when you are not home. Photos can provide a lot of background information.

  1. Keep your device up to date, including your apps. Most hacking occurs using known flaws in older versions of software.

A few simple precautions can save you from serious problems. Pick one thing, and act on it now.

Tim Torian has his degree in Computer Science, and has been consulting on computer networking for the past 30 Years. He is a Microsoft Small Business Specialist, and a Cisco CCNA and CCNI. He has taught computer networking at the College of Sequoias and Cal Poly Extension. He was awarded “Entrepreneur of the year” by the Tulare County EDC in 2008. Torian Group was awarded “Technology Business of the Year” by the SBDC in 2011. He is president of Torian Group, Inc. which provides a full range of Technology Consulting services to local business, including computer services, networking, web design and Internet marketing. www.toriangroup.com


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