Five Security Considerations for a Mobile Phone

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Robert Siciliano

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Nielsen reports:

“We are just at the beginning of a new wireless era where smartphones will become the standard device consumers will use to connect to friends, the internet and the world at large. The share of smartphones as a proportion of overall device sales has increased 29% for phone purchasers in the last six months; and 45% of respondents indicated that their next device will be a smartphone.”

Mobile users have recently captured the attention of cyber criminals. The Department of Homeland Security and the STOP. THINK. CONNECT. program recommends the following tips to help you protect yourself and to help keep the web a safer place for everyone.

You can protect yourself from cyber criminals by following the same safety rules you follow on your computer when using your smartphone. These rules include:

  • Access the Internet over a secure network: Only browse the web through your service provider’s network (e.g., 3G) or a secure Wi-Fi network.
  • Be suspicious of unknown links or requests sent through email or text message: Do not click on unknown links or answer strange questions sent to your mobile device, regardless of who the sender appears to be.
  • Download only trusted applications: Download “apps” from trusted sources or marketplaces that have positive reviews and feedback.
  • Be vigilant about online security: Keep anti-virus and malware software up to date, use varying passwords, and never provide your personal or financial information without knowing who is asking and why they need it.
  • Don’t jailbreak an iPhone: Most of the infections that have plagued iPhone users occur when the phone is jailbroken. 

Jailbreaking is the process of removing the limitations imposed by Apple on devices running the iOS operating system.

Jailbreaking allows users to gain full access (or root access) to the operating system, thereby unlocking all its features.

Once jailbroken, iOS users are able to download additional applications, extensions and themes that are unavailable through the official Apple App Store.”

Jailbroken phones are much more susceptible to viruses once users skirt Apples application vetting process that ensures virus free apps.

Robert Siciliano, personal security expert contributor to Just Ask Gemalto.

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