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Do You Know Where Your Users Mobile Phones Are? [McAfee]

Client Computing | Posted on May 21, 2012 by Melissa Alvares

6 Quick Tips to Help Your Users Improve Mobile Security.

Forget dogs. With more than 4 billion mobile phones in use worldwide, not to mention, tens of millions of tablets, mobile devices are man’s new BFF (Sorry Sparky).

But our best friends are under serious threat, with hackers and scammers finding unprecedented ways to target personal and corporate data. Consider the following mobile statistics:

  • 40% of users say losing their mobile devices would be worse than losing their wallets, yet they often leave them unsupervised or unprotected.
  • More than 50% of smartphone users do not use any password protection to prevent unauthorized access to their device.
  • By 2014, mobile internet use is expected to take over desktop internet use, which could make mobile devices even more attractive to scammers and cybercriminals.

Even though we think of mobile devices as phones, they’re really mini-computers that can be more vulnerable to loss, theft, phishing scams, malware and unsecure networks than the ones sitting on our desks – vulnerability criminals are only too happy to exploit. Also, with many people using their mobile phone for both business and personal, what happens to a personal phone – affects your corporate security!

But by investing a little time and effort, your users enjoy all the fun and convenience that mobile devices offer while safeguarding your organizations corporate data. Here are some smart and practical ways you and your users can protect their devices:

1. Lock your device with a PIN or password – and configure it to automatically lock after a certain period of time.

2. Only install apps from trusted sources – Shop at reputable app stores (particularly of concern if you’re an Android user installing non-market applications), check user reviews and ratings to make sure an application is safe before you download it, and read the app’s privacy policy to see how much of your data will be shared with third parties. If you’re at all suspicious, don’t download the app.

3. Back up your data – Many smartphones and tablets have the capability to backup data wirelessly so you can quickly restore the information on your phone if the data is lost or accidentally deleted, or your device is stolen.

4. Keep your system updated – Ensure you have the latest security on your device and that it’s performing at an optimal level by always downloading software updates for the device’s operating system when prompted.

5. Don’t hack your device – Hacking or tampering with your device can potentially open security holes that undermine the device’s built-in security.

6. Log out – Remember to always log out of sites, particularly banking and shopping sites, instead of just closing your browser window, don’t bank or shop online from public wi-fi connections, and always double-check the site URL before logging in or sending any sensitive information.

Once you have your users building good mobile habits, you can start looking at Enterprise Mobility Management tools that will help you get even stronger control over the devices accessing your corporate data.

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