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Protecting Yourself Against Smartphone Security Risks

Most smartphone users today are oblivious to the extent that they are exposing their personal and confidential information to certain risks when using their smartphones. According to a recent survey by the Ponemon Institute on smartphone use by U.S. consumers, 89% of the respondents use their smartphone for personal email and 82% use it for business email as well. A smaller percentage of the respondents also use their smartphone for online shopping and banking. Hence, the growing integration of smartphone use into our daily lives only increases the security risks of smartphone use.

Whether it is due to complacency or lack of awareness, many smartphone users often unknowingly expose themselves to unnecessary risks. These include the following common acts like

  • Leaving the smartphone lying around, particularly in public places
  • Not using keypad locks
  • Choosing simple passwords, that are easily deciphered by hackers or using the same password for all the user-related applications
  • Connecting to insecure local broadband or WIFI networks
  • Not updating the latest security features or not installing anti-virus software

Unlike desktop or laptop users, smartphone users tend to think that since the primary use of the device is for phone calls and emails, there are negligible security or privacy risks. This is a dangerous fallacy as smartphones are, in fact, very attractive targets for hackers, given that the former contains a treasure trove of personal information about the user, whether it be personal passwords, credit card information, online banking details or detailed information about their contacts.

IT security experts have recommended some basic and cost-effective measures that would greatly enhance smartphone security.

  • Try not to leave the smartphone out of your sight, especially in public places.
  • Set your phone to lock out after a period of time.
  • Use a good alphanumeric password. It is also preferable to use a variety of passwords for different applications.
  • Update your smartphone’s OS security features, or install the latest anti-virus software.
  • Be selective in granting privileges for third party apps.

The first step to securing your smartphone is to be smart about it, the second step is to have a system in place to secure your smartphone in the event it is lost or stolen.  Tech Strategies’ hosted email serviceKerio Connect Mail Hosting” provides the capacity to remotely wipe your smartphone in the event it is lost or stolen.  Kerio Connect Mail Server also provides robust anti-spam and anti-virus filtering built-in to increase end user security.

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