5 Cybersecurity Tips to Protect Mobile Devices

Brett Harney BYOD, Network Security

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Mobile devices and computers need cybersecurity protection

This article from EdTech.com was originally written for all those students that recently headed off to campus this fall. But the cybersecurity tips to protect against identify theft are valuable for anyone with mobile devices… especially those that B.Y.O.D. to work.

According to re:fuel Agency’s 2014 College Explorer report, the average college student brings seven Internet-connected devices (smartphones, notebooks and tablets) to campus. This is probably a few more than what you typically tote with you to the office everyday. But my guess is that you have at least two to three devices nearby at this very moment.

So to stay safe, or at least safer, try the following tips:

1. “Disable the GPS option on mobile apps unless the app is specifically meant to track for personal security reasons.”

Turning off GPS functionality requires just a few swipes on a smartphone. While it’s reassuring to know that no one can track you via your smartphone, disabling GPS functionality will restrict your options if your device is stolen. Most smartphones can use GPS to locate stolen phones through services such as Apple’s Find My iPhone and Google’s Android Device Manager. However, even without GPS, these services can still remotely lock or wipe a phone’s content, giving you a tactical option in case of theft.

2. “Be very cautious about the personal information that is shared such as home/office/dorm address, phone number and e-mail.”

This is a golden rule for anyone braving the modern Internet, where many online services ask users for various forms of personally identifiable information (PII). Hackers with access to devices or accounts can piece together disparate PII to create a user profile that could be damaging to the person.

3. Enable privacy settings on social media accounts.

Social media apps make it simple for people to share their personal lives — maybe a little too simple. Thankfully, users can enable safeguards that limit the recipients of a social media post. Restricting posts on Facebook to only your friends, not friends of friends or everyone, is a good start. Posts on Twitter can also be limited to just those individuals you follow or approve to follow you, instead of being accessible to all Internet surfers.

4. Learn how to manage cyberbullying.

Schools have begun taking cyberbullying more seriously in recent years, with some developing explicit policies on how to handle this activity. But cyberbullying isn’t just a problem for teens. Adults feel the impact also!

5. Realize that they are favored targets of identity thieves and often don’t realize they’ve been had.

Along with students making easy targets, higher education institutions and businesses themselves have consistently been the focus of hackers. According to a 2014 report by EDUCAUSE’s Higher Education Information Security Council, education had the most security breaches of seven industries that were surveyed. Stolen records were the top target of breaches in higher education, accounting for 73 percent of the breaches, according to the report.

Whether you pass this information on to your children or your staff, or both, it’s good advice to follow. Cyber criminals are always on the move behind the scenes looking for easy targets. Don’t let your business be a target, if you haven’t had a network security assessment done ever, or in a long time, it’s time to defend your business!