Losing a smartphone these days is like losing a limb to many, never have we stored so much personal and sensitive information on our beloved handsets. The thought of someone prying through your photos, messages and applications really isn’t pleasant; especially when you consider what someone could do with all of your sensitive data.
Security giants Symantec purposely lost 50 smartphones and then tracked what happened next. Their results showed that 96% of the time the person who found the phone viewed its content, this is an extremely high figure – so don’t be naive in thinking: ‘Oh someone will return my phone to me and it’ll be just fine’ because even if they do, who’s to say they haven’t already logged your sensitive information prior to handing your smartphone back to you?
Your smartphone should be treated in the same way as you would protect your wallet or purse. Think about your surroundings and try to be discreet when using your smartphone in a public area, this will limit attention being drawn to your smartphone. We are all guilty of leaving our phones on a desk at work, a restaurant table, visible in a locked car etc. Ask yourself whether you would leave your wallet lying around anywhere? taking these pointers into consideration could protect your smartphone from being lost or stolen.
Passcodes are key to preventing prying eyes from viewing sensitive data, we should all have passcodes, patterns or pin codes enabled on our devices. Face recognition and finger print scanning apps are not recommended as they are not as secure – people can find ways around these certain features/apps. Remember to change your codes on a regular basis to ensure that any security threats are limited.
Download applications to ensure that you can keep track of your smartphone if it gets stolen. A number of security apps will remotely track, lock and/or erase your smartphone. Some apps will even sound an alarm so that people know the phone is stolen or take a photo of the thief so you can send it to the police. If you ensure that you install a security app on your smartphone you can be certain that you’ll have the best protection available on your smartphone.
Remotely wiping all of your data off of your smartphone isn’t an ideal solution although it does limit potential fraud and leakage of sensitive and personal information. You can counteract this by saving everything on your smartphone. Photos, emails, contacts, videos and anything you feel would be too important to lose can be saved to your PC, external hard drive or a cloud service. Trust me I talk from experience when I say that it’s a pain in the ass when you lose your phone and nothing is backed up!
Keeping a note of your IMEI number is of paramount importance, you can normally find it displayed on the back of your phone (once the battery has been removed) or if your device does not have a removable battery then it should be listed on the original packaging that your smartphone came sealed in. IMEI numbers help the police in tracking a handset even if the SIM has been removed or changed. Once the phone is traced the police should be able to retrieve it.
Insurance is of course the best way to ensure you have that piece of mind if you do lose your smartphone. Insurance is crucial if you do lose your handset as your device will be covered if it is lost or stolen but.. it doesn’t limit security threats, so please make sure you have passcodes/pin codes enabled on your smartphones as well as a reliable security application installed and running on your device at all times.