Secure your mobile devices

By Elvis Huff on January 22, 2021
6 minute read

Did you know? The term “mobile devices” means more than just our cell phones; it includes tablets, wearables like watches, and now “smart devices” – all of those gadgets we connect to our networks at home (think thermostats, refrigerators, TVs and doorbells). Recently, I read an article where criminals were logging into Ring doorbell accounts before breaking into their victims’ homes, using the victim’s email address and passwords. That’s right, most people set up their Ring doorbells using the same username and password that they use at other places, especially their email accounts.

Protecting our mobile devices should also be just as important as our computers. Why? If you have an email account – either personal or work – connected to your mobile device, chances are there is some sensitive data sitting in your inbox. If you have remote access to your work, you become very attractive to cyber criminals. Why is that? Remote access to your work is often tied to a mobile device. Think about it – when you log in, you receive a text message, email, phone call, or even a push notification to confirm it’s you accessing company data. The criminals know this, so they will often target your mobile devices as an easy entry point to get into your employer’s systems. Even if you do not have remote access to your employer, protecting your mobile devices are a key step in protecting your identity.

Top 6 mobile device protection tips:

  1. Ensure you have a strong lock code or passphrase on your device. Ideally, this should be longer than 4 digits and of course should not be your debit card PIN number.
  2. Turn on automatic updating – This keeps the software up to date and deters attackers from using a known security weakness.
  3. Turn on device location – Ever had that scary feeling that comes with a lost or stolen mobile device? I have, and it is not fun. With device location turned on, you can remotely locate or wipe and erase your device if it falls into the wrong hands.
  4. Only download trusted apps using legitimate “stores” such as Apple Store, Google Play and Amazon app store. Avoid downloading apps outside of these “stores.” Be sure to tell your children this too.
  5. Make a backup of your data. Does your phone not back up to the cloud because you have too many pictures? An easy fix for this is to back your phone up to a local computer. Consider adding additional storage to your cloud backup provider or backing up your pictures somewhere else.
  6. Report lost/stolen devices immediately. You should immediately notify your family and cellular carrier if your device is lost or stolen. Additionally, you should file a report with the police if you suspect the device was stolen.

With the high number of remote access users, a lost or stolen device linked to an employer’s remote access systems would be like leaving the keys to your employer’s building on the public sidewalk. Someone can use those to try and gain entry. Yes, there are probably other controls present, but if your device is lost or stolen, your employer needs to know so they can temporarily turn off your remote access.  Your employer does not want someone using your credentials other than you. ☺

 Wilson Bank and Trust is here for you. Should you need help, please do not hesitate to reach out to us online at wilsonbank.com, our mobile app, or call us at (844) WBT-BANK (844-928-2265).

Have another thought, tip or suggestion? Leave it in the comments below. I would love to hear from you!

Posted by Elvis Huff

Elvis Huff worked as an officer and network administrator for 12 years with the Lebanon Police Department and has also served as an adjunct professor in information systems at Cumberland University. Read More »

One Comment

  1. Enable the “Erase Data” feature on iOS or Android after a number of failed pass-code attempts. If someone has your phone, they can continue to try the code.

    Backup your data, because if the kids get your phone, they could quickly erase it. One copy of your data is no copy.

    Use the guidance here for data backups: https://dpbestflow.org/backup/backup-overview

    Reply

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *