Improve your security #7: password protect your smartphone

A recent study published in various online magazines showed that more and more people tend to replace their traditional mobile phones with smartphones.

This trend applies not only to young people who are usually more interested in new technologies but also to older people.

So, what does this has to do with security?

A smartphone has a lot of possibilities to store data on it. All kinds of data: private pictures, private documents, social media logins, emails, web pages visited, login information to many commercial services (Paypal, ebanking, eBay, Amazon, etc.) and other types of information you want to keep for yourself. Additionally, if you use a smartphone for business purposes also the device might also contain business emails, contacts and even VPN login information.

Do you care about that data? Of course you do, and in this case it makes sense to protect it.

The easiest, cheapest and most reliable way to protect the data you have on your smartphone is to use a password (also called a PIN, depending on the device).

There are many ways in which you can enter a password: numbers only, alpha numeric codes or gestures.

If you use gestures (a way of following a track with your finger on the touch screen) make sure that you clean up the display regularly. If your fingers leave traces on the screen, someone could simply follow that track and unlock your phone.

Every smartphone has a different way of setting and activating a password. If you own an iPhone, in order to set and activate the passcode go to Settings, General, Passcode Lock. Enter a four-digit number and please don’t use parts of phone numbers, birth dates or trivial codes . Tap Require Passcode to set how often you’ll be prompted to enter a code after your most recent unlock. I recommend Immediately or after one minute . Turn Erase Data on if you want the phone to clear its memory after 10 incorrect password attempts. After setting the code, go in the General Settings and verify that Auto-Lock is ON so the phone will go to sleep when idle and ask for the password when revived.

PS: Click here if you want to read the other  ”Improve your security“ articles.

 

Sorin Mustaca

Data Security Expert