Smartphone Security: an Ear to the Ground, an Eye on Your Mobile!

With the recent fear-inducing revelations about the PRISM spying soft, the booming hacking cottage industry in China and the well-publicized moves by Google, Twitter and Facebook toward secure browsing, these days, surf’s definitely not for the lily-livered. It’s also not for the tech-impaired smartphone user who can’t tell his/her firewall from his antivirus, which is why basic net know-how is becoming increasingly important for everyone who wants to enjoy their on-the-go virtual life in actual peace.

Surf’s Up and It’s a Veritable Hacknado!
Nowadays, even the least savvy netizen who’s so far assumed browsing was by default a safe, carefree pastime, can’t escape the nagging feeling that someone - the government or a hacker - might be watching over their shoulder. If you fit the bill and haven’t taken the necessary steps to surf the web anonymously, it’s high time you did, in order to preempt IP spoofing or even, in extreme cases, full-on identity theft. Treat the Internet like your own personal gated piece of heaven and there’s no telling what worm might come crawling out of the woodwork.
As everyone and their grandma have bought into the Bring-Your-Own-Device trend, a possible attack by botnets or Trojans will most likely extend to enterprises as well, which escalation doesn’t bode well for cloud services and other features of the ever-bendier elastic network. This is because there is still some crossed wiring between the security features of mobile devices - smartphones and their ilk - and those geared for desktops, which puts businesses in particular at a high risk from malware creeping in through the use of personal gadgets by employees.

How to Be a Smart Smartphone Owner
With nearly 40% of the time we spend online being clocked on mobile devices, the time for taking matters into your own hands is now. So, how do you prevent an attack on your trusted smart-tech sidekick and a meltdown of your company’s security perimeter? Here are a few tips that might help:
- keep an eye out for spam and messages that don’t look trustworthy and, if you do find a worrying glitch, perform a check with an antivirus app
- set up a passcode for your mobile and back up your data
- be careful which links you click and which email attachments you download (drive-by download is on the rise and wreaking havoc)
- be careful which apps you install and how they use your personal information
- install a security app that can remotely wipe everything on your phone in case of theft and help you track it down even if its GPS is off
- refrain from connecting to an unsecure wireless network, as you risk a direct attack from hackers - be especially wary of mobile banking while on an unsecure wi-fi
- be consistent in updating your apps, as these will most often come with better security
- when online banking, watch out for man-in-the-middle attacks: always check for the HTTPS indicator or the green patch in the address bar which points to a trusted, secure website
- avoid rooting your Android phone or jailbreaking your iPhone (freeing them up for writing code and giving them extra functionalities) as it renders your handset ripe for hacking

Last, but not least, you should always remember that your online persona is just as vulnerable to attacks as the physical flesh-and-bones you - with that in mind at all times, you might just learn to cry “Stranger Danger” whenever something untoward is about to befall your smartphone. As well you should!

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