As this October marks National Cyber Security Awareness Month in the US and European Cyber Security Month in the EU, we’ve prepared some weekly tips and tricks for you to get your digital life safe and secure. This week, we’re looking at mobiles.

Our phones are becoming the cornerstone of our daily lives and we check them up to 150 times and keep them with us for 22 hours each day. As a society we are becoming ever more reliant on these mobile computers and they are becoming gatekeepers for our most sensitive and private information
, such as

  • Private and business emails
  • Text messages and contacts
  • Personal photos and videos
  • Saved web passwords and banking logins
  • Synced social networking apps

When you consider everything that is stored on our mobiles, the cost of losing it or having it stolen really can add up. But as mobiles have become smarter, a new threat has emerged over the last few years that targets not just the device but the data on it.

So with that in mind, here are three tips to help keep your pocket digital world secure and your data private.

 

1) Use the Official Marketplace

On a mobile device, you have two common options for installing software. You can get your downloads from an official marketplace like the Apple Store or Google Play, or you can download them directly from websites, a practice called ”side­loading” apps.

Actions:

  • Downloading from an official marketplace has distinct advantages. In the case of the Apple Store, all apps are vetted by Apple before they appear in the store, so your chances of installing a dangerous app from the Apple Store are almost zero.
  • While Google Play does not require apps to be vetted before they may be downloaded by users from the store, you can still use the ratings system and reviews to your advantage. If an app has very low ratings and many reviews claiming strange symptoms or many problems, steer clear of it. Google will also remove known ”bad” apps.

 

2) Update your Phone

Today’s average phone has more computing power than a desktop computer from ten years ago! Always having access to the Internet and your data on the go is incredibly convenient, but it’s also made our phones a prime target for viruses and other malware.

Actions:

  • Check for system and application updates for your phone at least once a month.
  • Always keep your phone updated to the latest available operating system so your phone is as safe as possible and any security holes are plugged.

 

3) Install AV

Install an antivirus app on your phone. You should be sure to check all settings; make sure the appropriate boxes are checked for the data you are receiving, i.e. web surfing, text messaging and real­time scanner. Ensure that you scan your device regularly and above all keep it up to date!

Actions:

  • Talk about how AVG AV app does photo capture of multiple failed login attempts
  • Ability to locate or remotely wipe your phone if it’s lost or stolen
  • Protects your phone from dangerous apps, risky settings that leave you less secure, and prevents malware or hackers from gaining remote access and control over your device.