Smartphone Safety

Smartphones are an increasingly important part of our lives, more than a phone it holds our contact, emails, photos, credit cards, etc.. Losing a phone is more than an inconvenience it could potentially expose personal data and lead to identity theft and fraud.

Below are the basic steps you can take to secure your smartphone. In addition to the below advice there are OS specific instructions from the left hand menu to help secure your phone.

Use Common Sense to Avoid Theft

The NU police log is full of instances where a little care could have avoided a stolen phone. Do not leave your phone unattended, an opportunitic theif could steal it. When walking be aware of your surroundings and not engrosed in your phone. Someone could run up and swipe the phone out of your hand. On the subway or bus do not stand near the door holding the phone in one hand as someone could grab it just before the door closes.

Remember, your life is more important than your phone. If you are threatened with harm, give up your phone and report the incident to NU Public Safety or the Boston Police.

OS Specific Security Information

iOS 7 Security Features for the iPhone

Android Specific Security Features

Potential Risks with Smartphone Data

Just like the data on your computer, the data on your smart phone is at risk. The most common dangers to your phone include lost and stolen devices, weak or no passwords, malware, and spyware.

* Bank Account and Shopping Applications

Banks and online stores such as Amazon.com are making it easier to conduct business through a mobile application. Many of these apps have the option for you to automatically log into your account. If your phone is stolen, and you have the automatic log in feature enabled, the thief would have access to your financial accounts and could make fraudulent purchases or engage in identity theft.

Recommend not enabling automatic login for banking and shopping accounts.

* Email Addresses and Contacts

Spammers and spyware would love to gain access to your phones addresses and contacts. It would steal this information and start sending out spam messages to your friends and family possibly exposing them to phishing and other email attacks.

* Personal Information and Photos

There have been many instances of celebrities who have had their phones hacked and compromising phones stolen and posted on the Internet. Even if the information on your computer is not scandalous in nature a criminal could use it to steal your identity or for blackmail and harassment.

* Organizational and Company Data

Many use their personal cell phones to connect to their work email accounts. If the passwords are saved in the phone criminals could gain access and read all the users work email or send fraudulent emails as the user. The risk to the user and company includes identity theft, data theft and disclosure, and other criminal activities.