Posted by: RJ the Fire Dog Blogger | February 5, 2013

Take Steps to be Smartphone Safe

Phone with key

Part 1 of a 2-Part Series

If you’re among the 46 percent of people in the world who own a Smartphone, you’ve likely experienced the panic that sets in when you think you’ve lost it. I only experience this kind of a panic when I lose bacon. Whether the phone ultimately proved to be temporarily misplaced or if it permanently vanished, you had legitimate cause for alarm. After all, the amount of sensitive data most users store on their phones is astounding—direct access to savings and checking accounts storage of personal passwords for social media and email accounts, contact information for friends and colleagues. What’s more, even if you guard your phone with your life or your guard dog, the information contained on it could potentially be hacked or compromised by a virus when you are using a public wi-fi connection.

According to data released by Find My Smartphone by Lookout, which allows Smartphone users to track missing phones, the top 10 cities most at risk for lost or stolen phones include:

  1. Philadelphia, PA
  2. Seattle, WA
  3. Oakland, CA
  4. Long Beach, CA
  5. Newark, NJ
  6. Detroit, MI
  7. Cleveland, OH
  8. Baltimore, MD
  9. New York, NY
  10. Boston, MA

Regardless of where you live, your phone could be in danger, as 113 Smartphones are stolen or lost every minute in the U.S. I’m sure the statistic for bacon thefts is even more shocking. So, if you fail to protect your phone with a password, back up your data and install a program that can wipe the phone’s memory remotely, losing your phone could start you on the path to an identity-theft nightmare.

To help keep you safe while surfing the web using your Smartphone, we would like to share the top 10 steps you can take to make sure your Smartphone is safe. This week, we’ll cover 5:

  1. Create a Password. Admittedly, it’s a hassle to unlock your phone every time you want to use it. But consider this: if you could put a lock on your wallet, wouldn’t you do it, despite the inconvenience? A phone password is by no means foolproof. However, it might just provide a deterrent for potential thieves who will move on to an easier target. I’d go with “RJtheFiredog” if I were you. It’s a great password.
  2. Log out of Security-enabled Apps. Would you keep a major credit card or a bone on your desk at work? Setting up your Smartphone to automatically log into sensitive accounts is like carrying credit card passwords in your wallet right alongside the cards. Of course no one thinks they will be victims of theft. As we so often caution at RJWestmore, the best thing to do to be safe during an emergency is to be prepared. So treat your Smartphone as though you plan on losing it. Don’t value convenience over security.
  3. Adjust settings so your Smartphone won’t automatically connect to available WiFi networks. To BE SAFE, disable the feature on your phone which allows it to immediately connect to available networks. You can usually find this feature under your phone’s settings. When you opt to use a public wi-fi, consider the fact you could be sharing your screen with a hacker. Then, proceed with caution.
  4. If you shop online, download shopping apps instead of browsers. You usually have a choice when using your Smartphone to order items on sites like Petco, Amazon, eBay, Overstock or major retailers like Target and Best Buy. Dedicated shopping apps are preferable to browsers which return full-site results, because applications are specifically designed to ward off phishing and other scams. But be careful before downloading that the app is legitimate. Oftentimes, while you are browsing using your Smartphone, sites will ask if you want to download the application. Opt in, as this is for your safety. I’d like a pork-chop delivery app. I guess they haven’t created one yet.
  5. Download remote wiping software. Dozens of apps and services enable you to locate your phone and wipe data clean. Even though certain tech-savvy hackers may be able to disengage these applications, adding the feature will provide you with extra protection in your phone protection plan. Here’s a sampling of where to go to procure the appropriate app if you have an iPhone, Android, Blackberry or Windows-based phone.

Check our blog post next week, when we’ll share the final five steps to take to protect your Smartphone or your dog bone. When a disaster strikes, prior planning and clear decisive action can help save lives. The RJWestmore Training System by Universal Fire/Life Safety Services helps commercial buildings with compliance to fire life safety codes. Our interactive, building-specific e-learning training system motivates and rewards tenants instantly! It’s a convenient and affordable solution to all of the training needs of your building(s). Choosing our service cuts property management training related workloads by 90% and saves you over 50% compared to conventional training! More importantly, IT SAVES LIVES!

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