According to a recent survey sponsored by AVG Technologies on U.S. consumers’ attitudes towards smartphone security, most of the smartphone users are unwittingly exposing themselves to several security risks. From the survey, the top five concerns of smartphone users are as follows.
- Being targeted by marketers based on how the phone is used for purchases, Internet browsing and even location. This often results in users receiving unwanted marketing ads or promotions on their smartphones.
- As people use their smartphone for both personal and working purposes, there is a danger of putting confidential work-related information at risk.
- Connecting to the Internet via an insecure local WIFI network.
- Improper disposal of smartphone without removing the sensitive data inside, thus allowing others to access them later
- Location data embedded inside certain files can allow the user to be tracked.
On the other hand, most users seem to be least aware of pertinent security risks such as
- The transmission of confidential payment information without their knowledge or consent
- Downloading an app for their smartphone that has specialized malware designed to steal personal data
- “Dialerware” infections that unknowingly allow others to make use of premium services resulting in unexpected charges for the user
- Spyware that access the private information on the smartphone.
The above mentioned security risks are the most insidious, yet financially painful ones. Smartphone users often only realize the consequences of being complacent or negligent about data security when it is too late. Whether it is the shock of receiving a hefty phone bill at the end of the month, the pain of financial loss or the trouble of having to cancel and reset one’s financial transactions, these can actually be prevented as long as the user is a bit more careful himself and adopts a few security measures as shown below.
- Update your smartphone’s OS security features, or at least, install the latest anti-virus software.
- Be very careful in granting privileges for third party apps, especially those that request for personal details.
- Secure the services of a good hosted email system to prevent any viruses, spam and phishing emails. The system’s integrated data backup also allows you to retrieve your information easily in case of emergencies. Doing so will also give you peace of mind that your data is kept secure by the latest security features in the market.
- Use different passwords (and preferably alphanumeric ones) for different applications.