Smartphone Smarts

author imagePosted by Mascoma Bank on February 4, 2021

If you’re like many people, you don’t leave home without your phone. Someone might call, but more likely, someone will text, send an email, you’ll have a few free moments to scan social media, you’ll need to check your bank balance, or you need directions to where you’re going.Mobile phones are a constant part of most people’s lives, and that means we should take precautions to keep them—and us—safe. As useful as they are for all kinds of things, we need to also recognize that just like computers, they can serve as a gateway for hackers to gain information about us to be used in harmful ways.

Remember these tips to keep your phone and date safe:

  • Auto-lock your phone. Unfortunately, mobile phones are lost or stolen all too often. If your phone falls into the wrong hands, a password is the first line of defense for your personal data. Create a strong password for your phone and set your screen to auto-lock within one to five minutes. Use a password that’s different from your others (ATM, email accounts, online bill-paying accounts).
  • Keep your apps and device software up to date. Hackers work diligently to discover new vulnerabilities in our apps or the software that operates our phones. Device manufacturers and app developers frequently update their software to fix newly exploited security gaps, but if you don’t download and install these updates your information is still at risk.
  • Use discretion when downloading apps. Even the most innocent-looking app can contain software designed to steal personal data, make fraudulent charges, or even hijack your phone. Only download apps from sites you trust, check the app’s rating, and read reviews to make sure they’re widely used and respected before you download.
  • Don’t open unfamiliar attachments, emails, or text messages from unknown sources. Similar to the rules of email, avoid any communication that looks suspicious.
  • Be careful what you do on public WiFi networks. There may be others watching network traffic. In particular, stay away from making purchases and banking transactions—any communication that conveys a password, account number, or credit card number—unless you are certain that you are on a secure connection.
  • Don’t save sensitive information on your phone. Delete voice and text messages with financial or personal information.
  • Software. Take advantage of software that locks the phone or erases the data remotely if the phone is lost or stolen.