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From the desk of Chief Dawson-Safety tips to protect you and your phone 10-16-13

Is your Smartphone protected from viruses? Studies show that eighty percent of cell phones are not protected. The majority of reported attacks target the Android-based Smartphone’s. Apple maintains strict control over what’s offered in the ITunes App Store, Google doesn’t supervise the Android Market.

The bad guy’s biggest money-making scam is making your phone sign up for an expensive subscription for a SMS text messaging service without your knowledge. The victim will not be aware of this crime until the next bill arrives with high dollar charges added on. Another scheme has hackers installing unseen programs that send a copy of all your input, including passwords and other personal information. It may also allow them to view your personal photos or track your location.

The following is some safety tips to protect you and your phone:

  • After purchasing a device, know the features of the phone, including the default settings. Turn off those features not needed to minimize the attack surface of the device.
  • Look to see if your device has encryption capability. This is used to protect the user’s personal data in case of loss or theft of the device.
  • Prior to downloading an app, users should research reviews of the company/developer who published the application.
  • Always review and understand the permissions you are giving when you download an app.
  • Password protect your mobile device in case of loss or theft. This is the first line of defense to protect the contents of your device. In conjunction with this, enable the screen lock feature after a few minutes of inactivity.
  • If able, obtain malware protection for your phone. Applications that specialize in antivirus or file integrity protection will block rogue applications and malware from infecting your phone.
  • Be leery of applications that enable geo-locations. The application is used for marketing, but could also be used to assist stalkers and burglars.
  • Avoid phones that are jailbroke or rooted. This allows the user nearly unregulated control over what programs can be installed and how the device can be used. However, this procedure usually involves exploiting significant security vulnerabilities and increases the attack surface of the device.
  • Avoid allowing your phone to connect to unknown wireless networks. At times these networks are rogue access points that capture information passed between your device and a legitimate server.
  • Prior to selling or trading your device in, make sure you wipe the device to avoid leaving personal data on the device. This is simply done by resetting it to the factory default.
  • Neglecting required updates increases the risk of having the device hacked or compromised.
  • Avoid downloading software or links from unknown sources.
  • Use the same precautions on your Smartphone as you would on your computer when on the Internet.

Software is a valuable defense against Smartphone scammers and thieves, but it’s not foolproof. Use common sense and all the precautions you can with your Smartphone. Hope this information helps you from becoming a victim. As always, if you have a question please don’t hesitate to contact our department. Have a great week Greenwood!

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