In this section we look at protecting your mobile phone from the threats outlined in Cyber Crime and Identity theft.

We start with the basics.

Basic Protection.

  • Use a PIN code
  • Note down the Unique Identification Number(IMEI) – usually behind the battery.
  • Back-up the phone regularly – just like you would a PC or laptop
  • Turn Bluetooth off.

The primary difference between a Feature phone and a Smart phone is Internet Access.  To protect the Smart phone you should consider:

Security software

If you have security software on your pc/lap-top you will be familiar with companies like F-Secure, Mcafee, Kaspesky, Bullguard, Norton.

These,  and others, offer software packages for certain mobile phones.

Type ‘security software for mobile phones’ in Google and you will see what is available.

Most cover Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile and RIM operating systems and can be bought in the same way as for PCs and Laptops.

Because Apple’s iOS is a closed operating system they control which software applications are available, and how those Apps are sold. This(in theory) ensures that security risks are minimal and hence no need for  third party security software.

Protection services

Mobile phone security software  typically gives you standard pc/lap-top protection like:

  • Anti-virus  – You schedule this to run regular checks on the mobile phone and to identify any malicious code(virus, worms, trojans, spyware etc.)
  • Real-time protection – runs in real time and identifies threats as they appear.
  • Firewall – Limits who can access the operating system remotely.

and mobile phone specific services like:

  • Anti-spam – used to protect against unwanted SMS/text messages.
  • Remote Block – If the phone is lost or stolen the SIM card and the phones data can be remotely locked.
  • Remote Wipe – More drastic than Blocking, the Wipe facility will remotely delete all your data from the phone.
  • Parental Control – A range of features designed to protect a child user. See my section on Parental Controls for more details.
  • Phone Number White and Black lists – basically you can construct list of phone numbers and email addresses to reject(black) or always accept(white).

Be aware that as new security threats emerge daily, and hence the security companies issue numerous updates. You should always consider how those updates are processed by your mobile phone.

  • Automatic update will arrive when you have a suitable Internet connection. If you are on a 3G service at the time,  these will eat into your monthly mobile Internet Access allowance.
  • Schedule your updates when you have a suitable Wifi service to reduce cost(say at home).
  • Load the software on your  PC/laptop and upload using a sync cable as you would for a back-up or Operating system update.

Remember when loading any new applications check how much memory your phone has available against the requirements of the new app.

Secure Wifi Access

If  you have broadband at home/work it will typically come with Wifi access.

Specifically you are using a standard for Wireless LANS(Local Area Networks).

In doing so you provide the SSID(Service Set Identifier) of the Wireless Broadband hub and this creates a secure connection to the Internet.

But what about in a hotel or cafe or in the park?

Your  mobile/tablet can use it’s Wifi search facility to detect Wireless networks(hotspots).

It will tell you the which Wifi networks it has found, the signal strength and if they are secure or unsecure.

Your Wifi search might find a local private broadband hub, which will require a SSID for access.

Your Wifi search might find the local Wifi Service Provider/s like  BT Openzone, The Cloud, and Orange, who can offer access minutes as part of an Internet access tariff. For these you will need and account and password and in return you get a secure connection.

Finally your search may find Unsecure Wifi networks(Free Internet Access).

Trouble is, if you can get on for free so can everyone else, leaving your device open to hacking, or the interception of your personal data as your transmit.

Be Alert – Britain needs lerts

Security threats are ever changing and more devious. Employing the same security regime on your mobile as you would to your computer/laptop could save you a whole lot of pain.

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