While the iPhone is the undeniable king of smartphones, security flaws in the operating system create vulnerabilities hackers can exploit to steal email, contact and personal data.
Surprisingly, smartphone users are seemingly unaware of data security issues with their cellular phones. According to a recent Trend Micro report, respondents (44%) feel surfing the internet on their smartphone is just as safe as surfing the web on their computer, despite the fact that most smartphones offer no internet surfing security.
What can you do to protect your iPhone (or other SmartPhone)? Use these tips:
1. Wifi Hotspots Attract Hackers – those bent on maliciously collecting information from laptop and smartphone users know that wifi hotspots offering broadband internet access to anyone are great places to troll for the unprotected equipment. When surfing at your local hot spot, make sure you know whose network you are connecting to. Reference the name of the hotspot and ask yourself if the name makes sense with the location. For instance, all Starbucks have a hotspot named “att” that requires validation through the iPhone’s Safari internet browser. Connecting to any other wifi network increases your risk of data theft.
2. Wifi Hotspot Login Page – many wifi hotspots require you to accept terms of service and login to a web page on your internet browser. While checking a box to accept terms of service is rather innocuous, no other information is typically collected (such as name, address, credit card number, etc) so be wary of any login process requesting such information. Also (more applicable to laptops) if the login page seems to be taking an extraordinary amount of time to load or appears to be loading a large file to your laptop or smartphone immediately disconnect your wireless internet connection as malicious software may be downloading to your device.
3. Password Protect Your Data – most smartphones provide a feature to password protect your device and the data inside it. This is typically enabled in a settings panel on the phone and requires the owner to enter a password before gaining access to phone data and functionality. While this might be annoying it is a great way to protect your data from theft, especially if your phone is lost or is left unattended in public for an extended period of time.
4. Layered Protection – exercising caution when connecting with wifi hotspots and password protecting your data is a great start, but you can increase your data protection with additional layers of security such as the Trend Micro application, Trend Smart Surfing (freely available through the iPhone application store). This app blocks users from accidentally visiting a site that could exploit an iPhone vulnerability.
These simple steps will greatly increase data security on your smartphone device and better protect you from identity theft. Also be certain to regularly update your smartphone or iPhone to receive the most up-to-date security patches made available from hardware manufacturers.
Thanks to Kelly R. Short for authoring and providing this list of helpful tips. Click here to read more of Kelly’s writings.
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