Protecting Private Data On Mobile Devices – Here’s How!

While not necessarily a bargain-orientated post, I thought this was still worth sharing with the Buckscoop community after recently going through an exercise of securing my private data across the various mobile devices that I use.

We’ve become pretty much inseparable from our mobile computing devices, from smartphones to laptops and even tablets. Most people carry at least one of these devices with them at any given time. They are a highly portable and efficient way to work, play and access the internet while on the go. We also tend to store a lot of stuff on mobile devices from personal information and email to photos and even restricted data for work.

More often that not though, all of this information and data is unprotected, meaning that it would be pretty easy for an unauthorized person to gain access to it, even if the device itself is not lost or stolen.


The Basics

Make sure that your device is password protected so that you need to key in a password or code in order to use the device. You should also set a automatically lock for when the device is not in use. This will prevent unauthorized persons from gaining access to your phone or laptop (it can also be useful in keeping out nosey siblings).  Other basic security tips include only downloading apps from trusted sources like iTunes or Google Play. This guards you against spyware and malware that is sometimes present in other illicit app downloading platforms. It is also important to note that jail-breaking your phone can remove the manufacturers protection against malware.


Protecting Your Online Identity – Don’t Overshare!

It’s crazy how easily and willingly we give out personal information online, from email addresses to phone numbers and credit card information. We regularly put our lives on display for the work to see on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram. But social networks do not have to leave us exposed to exploitation. In fact there are a lot of simple measures that we can put in place to protect our online identity and limit access to our social networks.

For starters, most social networks like Google+ circles and Facebook allow you to share information with selected people - you can create private groups and separate lists to share information with different groups of people. This ensures that your bosses and co-workers will not be able to see posts of you complaining about the person who stole your bagel from the office fridge.


Get Your Name Out Of The Search Results

You also have the option of privatizing your profile or setting it to non-searchable: meaning that your profile will be kept out of Google’ s search engine results. This is particularly important because there are a number of malicious third party sites that make use of personal information found through Google searches. If you want to have an idea of your online exposure at the moment, you could do a Google search for your name and see what information that digs up. This will help you narrow down which sites you need to change your privacy settings on.


Beware Of Linking Third Party Apps

You should also be very careful about linking your profile with third-party apps that can automatically post on your account. Most of the time, it’s a harmless notification about you reaching a new level on Candy Crush but when you add a third-party app it is important to check the privacy settings to be clear about what kind of permissions you are granting the app.


Geolocation Apps – Turn Them OFF!!

Apps that track your location are particularly problematic – by giving out information on where you are at any given time, it invites unnecessary trouble.  If you use Foursquare for instance, you can have more control of your privacy by making private check-ins your default setting. You can also tweak your Facebook settings to prevent the site from access to your location.


For Extra Protection Opt For Google 2-FactorAuthentication

Google’s 2-factor authentication process is really an added security measure to protect against identity theft.  Ordinarily a hacker could access your account by simply guessing your password, this could potentially give them access to tons of information on your email be it private documents or credit card details from your online transactions.

With 2-factor authentication you have a password plus a time limited pin (that can be linked to your smart phone) so even if they guessed your password or you accidentally gave it out, they would not be able to access you account without the pin. You don’t even have to go through the hassle of keying in a password and a pin every time you access your account, you can opt to do this once a week or even once a month to keep you account safe.


These simple tips can really protect your online identity and boost the security of your data on mobile computing devices.



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