Security Tips Series, 4 - Mobile Phone

Thursday, October 1, 2020

With over 3.5 billion smartphone users and 4.5 billion mobile phone users overall, 60% of the world’s population have mobile phones. With over 7.8 billion people in the world there are 10 billion mobile connections (communications between a mobile device and a cell tower), more than people in the world. Securing your mobile device is extremely important, as most of us have one and use it everyday. 

Manage your apps
Check the applications you have installed and clear out unwanted or unused ones every six months. Make sure you know the source of your app installs – the best place to download apps from is the app store for Apple devices or the Play Store for android devices. Search and download direct from the App Store or Play Store, rather than via links/other websites to be sure. The best way to manage your apps is to go to your settings and change the individual app settings there. There are different ways to manage apps depending on whether you are using iOS or Android. Changing app permissions, deleting unused apps and ensuring apps are all kept up to date is paramount to keeping your phone secure.

Update your software
Regularly updating your phone software is a great way to avoid bugs and hackers. Updates can include fixes to efficiency and security, ensuring top performance. Additionally, you should ensure that your phone’s operating system has been updated, which is a key part of your phones performance and security. We recommend turning on the auto-update function of your device to ensure the latest updates are downloaded, so you don’t have to manually check every few months.

Check your location settings (locate a lost phone)
Sometimes it’s useful to have your location settings on for travel purposes, however you need to be aware of how many apps are monitoring where you have been and are going in the background. Also, if you your phone is using GPS tracking it will use your mobile data if you go out of WIFI range. Most of the time it is worthwhile to have the location settings turned off. Location services are also managed and found in different places on iOS and Android. If you are going somewhere and want to be monitored by friends/families, or have lost your phone, use the Find My app if you have an iPhone or use Android Find my Device if you have an Android device and Google will pinpoint it using your Google account details (just type Find My Android into Google). You can also use these apps to lock your phone to prevent thieves from accessing data.

Lock your phone
A simple but often overlooked step to make your phone secure is locking your phone. Set a password, pin, fingerprint, face scan or use any of the other locking mechanisms that are offered by your device’s hardware. Most devices require users to set-up a password or pin when they first log-in and will automatically lock if unused for a set amount of time.

Know the specifics about your mobile phone make and model
Do you have an Apple, Samsung, LG, Motorola, Google or Huawei device? Each phone has its own specific nuances, whether they be hardware or software related. Get to know the phone you are using, what features you have access to and how your current mobile phone differs from other devices you have used in the past.

Back up your mobile data and device
Make sure you regularly backup your mobile data to the cloud to prevent the loss of information that could arise if you were to misplace or damage your device. Making sure you have a copy of your data means you can easily duplicate it across to a new phone when needed. It will also ensure that valuable information, media and application data is not lost with a damaged or misplaced phone.

When changing phones make sure you reset it before selling/trading/recycling
Just as you should ensure your data is backed up if you were to lose your phone, making sure you remove everything is very important when retiring or recycling a phone. Securely remove your data from your device and reset it properly so that your data doesn’t find itself in the hands of someone unexpected. Instructions to factory reset your phone can be found here – Android, iPhone.

Keep an eye out for mobile malware and hackers
Just like a computer, your phone can also get viruses. Android phones are especially at risk of viruses, but iOS phones aren’t risk free. Viruses infect mobile phones in a similar way to computers in that they are often hidden in downloads, via applications or email links. Be vigilant when accessing websites and emails on your mobile, just as you would when accessing these same sites on your PC.

Money matters
Check your bills and text messages to make sure that nothing is being sent behind the scenes. Hackers can gain remote access to your phone and use it when it is idle, sending money using your accounts, buying apps and wreaking havoc on the mobile system. If you notice messages, transfers or any other transactions that weren’t initiated by you, get in touch with your bank, local mobile phone expert or a technician.

What is TDR and what do we do?
TDR stands for ‘Telecommunications Dispute Resolution’ a free and independent service that helps consumers manage complaints about any product or service from their telecommunications provider. We resolve complaints about landline, mobile and internet issues.

Why are we sharing this?
We decided to do a blog to inform people about the trending topics happening in the telecommunications industry, as well as sharing our knowledge of disputes in the sector.