5 Essential Mobile Security Tips

5 Essential Mobile Security Tips

mobile phone securityEvery Smartphones and tables should have long predicted that cybercriminals. The increasing importance of Smartphones and tablets in the lives of consumers and workers has made  the devices more attractive to attackers. With malware on the rise, and lost phones with sensitive data still the No. 1 issue, security experts offer five essential steps to protect popular mobile devices.

Lost and stolen devices continue to be the most serious threat to businesses and consumers. On average, North American and European companies lose 11 smartphones every year, according to Forrester Research. Consumers and companies worried about the sensitive data on the phone should make an easy-to-type password their first line of defense, says Andrew Jaquith, the former Forrester analyst who authored the report and is now chief technology officer for Perimeter E-Security. If the phone can be remotely wiped using mobile-device management software or a similar service, then the auto-destruct policy can be more lenient.

Almost every piece of malicious software that has infected a phone has been a Trojan horse. DroidDream, the most successful malicious app, infected a quarter million Android phones in March by posing as real applications. Users should download apps only from trusted app stores and stick with the more popular apps, says Michael Sutton, vice president of research for cloud security firm Zscaler. Android users also can benefit from the wisdom of the crowds by downloading only apps that have a significant number of reviews and comments. Trojans don’t get to the point where they rack up millions of users, so look at the comments left by the other users.

Similar to PCs, mobile phones need to be patched often to eliminate vulnerabilities found since the phone’s release. The good news is that unlike security vulnerabilities in Android, which can take time to make their way to the phone, updates are done over the air. Users should always accept the updates. Until Apple’s Ios 5 arrives for iPhones, Apple users should sync their device regularly to get updates.

Mobile devices are easy to back up, a characteristic users should make the most of. Users who back up regularly are less likely to lose data even if their company has a strict auto-destruct policy for lost or stolen phones.

Finally, though some compelling reasons exist for consumers to jailbreak their phones, security experts advise users to just say no. So much of a phone’s security is tied to code signing and software sandboxing that jailbreaking a phone–removing the digital-rights management that locks it to a certain carrier–means significantly weakening the security of the device.

One step that users may do without: Installing antivirus software.

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