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15 smartphone sins you're probably committing 21/04/2014
How to avoid the common security risks that expose smartphone users to fraud, theft and malicious attack.
15 smartphone sins you're probably committing

In Australia, a mobile phone is reported lost or stolen every six minutes. That’s 100,000 lost phones every year and a huge security issue.

Now we’re using our smartphones for everything from calls and text to email and banking, losing your phone is a bigger deal than ever before. And, it’s not just about losing your handset, you could be compromising the security of your data and personal information just by committing some of these common smartphone sins.

Ignoring security

Most people don’t bother with security software but it does give you some basic protection if you lose your phone. Installing some anti-theft software that allows you to erase your data remotely or track your phone down is a good idea.

Not updating software

Updates for your smartphone’s operating system and the apps you use are issued for a reason – often to patch security weaknesses. Sometimes, operating system updates have bugs but generally it’s a good idea to accept updates to keep your phone secure.

Not using phone lock

It might be annoying to have to enter your pin or scan your fingerprint to unlock your phone all the time but if your phone falls into the wrong hands, this little bit of added security could buy you the time you need to use your antitheft software to wipe your data before crafty crooks eventually bust in.

Jailbreaking or rooting

As tempting as it may be to free your phone from the restrictions of the operating system, jailbreaking an iPhone or rooting an android (gaining root access) can open you up to more security issues than you want to think about. The manufacturer settings on your smartphone are designed to keep malware from accessing your operating system and information, without them, your information is an easy target for malware.

Texting strangers

Think twice before you send a ‘who’s this?’ text back to a number you don’t recognise. Hackers have been known to send these messages to elicit a response that will then tell them they’ve found a valid number to target.

Using public Wi-Fi networks

Sure it’s cheaper to use a public network but don’t forget that everything you send and receive can be seen by anyone who knows that they’re looking for and public Wi-Fi is one of the best hunting grounds for hackers. Stick with password protected networks or your own mobile data network to be safe.

Downloading malicious apps

Some innocent looking apps can turn out to be worms or viruses that are on a mission to steal your information, passwords or contact details. In fact, Trend Micro says there are now more than 1 million of these malicious or dubious apps out there waiting for you to download. One of the best ways to be sure your apps are the real deal is to get them from the official app stores like Google Play or Apple’s App Store.

Clicking on dangerous links

Around 156 million phishing emails sent every day and around 4% of identity theft incidents are a result of email fraud. Since things like simplified mobile websites and shortened URL’s make it harder to spot fake emails on mobile devices, it’s best to just avoid clicking on links in emails (or text messages) on a mobile device.

Giving your personal information to fraudsters

Fraudsters don’t always use sophisticated ways to get your personal information; sometimes they still just pick up the phone and call you. If you receive a call from someone pretending to be your bank, wanting to verify your personal details, be very suspicious. Scamwatch recommends you end the dodgy call and phone your bank or building society directly using a number from a statement or other reliable source to find out if the call was genuine.

Leaving your phone naked

Identity theft, losing your phone or having it stolen are all guaranteed to ruin your day, but damaging your phone or entirely breaking it will also wipe a smile off your face and it’s surprisingly easy to do. One of the simplest things you can do to avoid the inconvenience of being without your phone is to protect it with a decent phone case.  And if you’re really clumsy with your phone, get yourself some heavy-duty smartphone protection.

Posting photos while on holidays

Just about everyone is guilty of posting pics of themselves on holidays but according to smartphone insurance company Protect Your Bubble, 75% of convicted burglars reckon other burglars use information like this from social media to find targets who are away from home.

Posting photos with location settings on

Location services could also be putting your security at risk, telling would-be crims precisely where you are, where you work or where you live. Turning your smartphone’s location services off removes the location information from the photos you upload and keeps you safer.

Saving your banking passwords on your phone

Alright, this is a no brainer but clearly it needs to be mentioned because 32% of people actually save details like banking passwords on their phone! If you’ve also committed some of the other sins on this list, you’re in for a world of pain if you lose your phone.

Taking and sending compromising photos

Let’s just say that 17% of people who receive nude photos send them on to someone else. Not your mates? Think again. And what if your phone is lost or stolen? Never a good idea. Never.

Thinking it won’t happen to you

2,000 phones are lost or stolen in Australia every week and smartphone users are being scammed constantly. There’s a pretty good chance you could be a target so one of the biggest smartphone sins is thinking it won’t happen to you. It doesn’t take much time or effort to get your smartphone security up to scratch and at least be confident you’re as protected as you can be.

Sprout can help you keep your smartphone secure with phone cases that look great and provide tough protection. You’ll find a great range of iPhone cases and android phone cases as well as iPad cases and other mobile accessories in our online store.

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