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Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Bewica's mobile security gym

We run you through some of the basics of keeping your mobile devices cyber secure.

Staying fit means keeping your body and mind active and functioning at a high level. As we keep our bodies fit, we should also keep our personal devices 'healthy' and our data private and safe.

Personal digital devices (mobile phones, tablets, smart watches) are highly attractive targets for cyber criminals. We depend on these devices to keep lots of our personal information. Pictures, contacts, banking and other sensitive apps - all stored on them. Relying on mobile devices is convenient. Who could consider life without them?

Only... what are the security implications? What would happen if the device fell into the wrong hands? Or someone hacked the phone remotely? How dangerous is it to store data on mobile devices? Should we stop storing any sensitive data in our phones?

Let’s not get that dramatic. We think it is okay to keep information, including sensitive information, on your phone. However, we also think it is important to maintain basic security measures to prevent data from ending in the wrong hands. Just as doctors and nutritionists recommend exercising at least 30 min a day, we recommend to implement, review regularly and remember basic security measures. This will take much less time than 30 minutes per day, we promise!

The Bewica 6-step diet plan for keeping your phone fit and safe

1. Set a password

Obvious but always worth a reminder. Not having a password means leaving the door completely open. Without a password, anyone who gets hold of your device can access your data, photos, emails, calendar, etc. Keep a strong password set on your devices. And in case you are wondering: 1,2,3,4,5,6 isn't strong nor is 'password'. MyCoffeeTastesAwfulToday is bound to be a much better choice (and potentially the truth).

2. Stay up-to-date

Android and iOS are constantly releasing new versions with security patches that resolve newly found security weaknesses. When you mobile phone asks for your permission to update, say yes. And if it doesn't ask you: check that you have automatic updates turned on. This is very important for your operating system but also make sure to allow your other applications to perform updates. Consider deleting tools that you are not using anymore

3. Only download trusted apps

Stick with the official stores (GooglePlay and iOS App Store), and do not download apps from unknown sources.

4. Navigate safely

Be aware of using websites that don't have have“https” or the lock symbol. This is true of course for any browsing activity, on your computer just as well as on mobile devices.

5. Review permissions regularly

Many applications request access to your location, contacts or photos. Do a periodic check of these settings and allow only those permissions to applications that are needed for them to function properly.

6. Moving on from a device

If you are selling or giving away your device, you should perform a full reset. This will ensure that the device has its original settings and that all of your personal data is wiped.

Ana Lopez
Cyber security analyst