Unless you live under a rock, or are under 13, you probably have a smartphone. It may be hedging my bets, but that’s more common than uncommon now. Smartphones let you surf, shop or bank wherever you are. Make sure your information stays secure while you’re on the move by following these smartphone-safe browsing tips:
- Activate your phone’s password feature, which locks the screen and prevents anyone but you from accessing your phone. Set up the password feature on your phone with a code that only you know, or use the biometrics, like fingerprint or face unlock features, if they are available for your phone. Seems simple, and it works.
- Don’t connect to unknown networks through Wi-Fi hotspots to make financial transactions. Use a virtual private network (VPN) or your phone or device’s data plan instead.
- Beware of smishing – that’s phishing on phones through text messages. Never download media or images, or click on text-message links that come from people or phone numbers you don’t recognize. Never provide personal details or account information using email, social media chat functions, or text messages, as these are not secure. If you are unsure if a message came from us, please contact us by phone, or use the secure messaging within the digital banking app or site.
- Download apps exclusively from the official source for your smartphone’s platform, such as the Android or Apple stores. Look at the permissions apps request before downloading them. If there is no clear reason why the app should have the access it requests, consider not downloading it. (For example, there is no reason a free game app should have access to view call logs or make and receive calls.)
- Install anti-virus software for your smartphone when available and update it frequently.
- Password protection apps are available to store your personal and work passwords. Don’t keep it in a text file named “passwords”. Seriously.
- Install location finding applications, which work with your phone’s built-in GPS. These applications allow you to locate and/or remotely erase data in your phone if it is lost or stolen.
- Update your smartphone’s operating system as soon as newer versions are available.
- Back up your smartphone regularly. Most mobile devices can be set to automatically back up to an online account at regular intervals.
Keeping these tips in mind, you should be a bit smarter with your smartphone going forward. We’ve become so used to having these devices contain not only access to a world of information in the palm of your hand, but also much of your personal information if you don’t protect it. For great tips and more information check back at our Encompass Credit Union blog each week.