Safety Tips

Throughout the day we use cell phones to communicate with friends and family, browse favored websites, pay the bills, make purchases, and even work. Our mobile devices have become an essential part of our lives—not just because of the services and tasks they allow us to perform, but also to store data. Valuable contact information, personal photos, emails and files, even our entertainment are all saved on mobile devices. Unfortunately, there are threats that can put all that personal information and valuable data (as well as the information of the people closest to us) at risk.

Mobile device Safety Tips:
  • Regularly update the operating system and apps. New vulnerabilities are always discovered, and vendors work to quickly patch their applications and software. For the users, updating is essential for keeping mobile devices as secure as possible.
  • Download apps from trusted sources. According to a 2016 Android Security Review by Google, Potentially Harmful Apps (PHA) are still the biggest threat to Android users. Certain third-party app stores have proven to be more likely carriers of malicious apps, so always download from trusted sources. Users should also do their due diligence and check reviews or comments on the app page to make sure it is legitimate.
  • Know the risks of rooting. Manufacturers place security restrictions and safeguards on their devices to safeguard users. Rooting removes these limitations, leaving the system more vulnerable to malware and other threats.
  • Avoid connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi. Turn off the automatic Wi-Fi connection feature on mobile devices. Public hotspots are not secure, and connecting to them can expose the device to a multitude of risks. If connecting is necessary, avoid logging into key accounts or financial services. Setting up a VPN is also a good way to secure data sent and received online.
  • Be wary of unsolicited calls or messages. Attackers use a variety of methods to get users to download malware or reveal personal information. Any messages, calls, or emails from unknown senders should be scanned or well-vetted.
  • Back up your files. Protect important data from ransomware threats by regularly backing up files. There are many different ways to store mobile device data—from synching with paired PCs to cloud services or even apps. Efficient programs can automatically back up mobile device data on a set timeline, which is convenient for the user.

Privacy Tips
  • Set automatic locks on mobile devices. Ensure that the mobile device locks automatically, and has a strong passcode—a simple pattern or swipe password isn’t much of a deterrent. If a device is lost or stolen, a strong password prevents anyone from quickly peeking at personal information.
  • Limit the personal information given to apps and websites. When signing up for a new service or downloading a new app, registration often requires personal information. Be wary of revealing too much, and research on how secure the application or site is before logging on.
  • Manage what is shared online. Make sure to use privacy settings on social media apps and sites. Some sites can broadcast location, email, phone numbers, or more to the public by default.
  • Be aware of the scope of app permissions. Apps sometimes require more than the basic default permissions. Make sure the installed apps only have access to features they need.

Keep a Clean Machine
Mobile devices are computers with software that needs to be kept up to date (just like your PC, laptop or tablet). Security protections are built in and updated on a regular basis. Take time to make sure all the mobile devices in your house have the latest protections. This may require synching your device with a computer.
  • Keep security software current: Having the latest mobile security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware, and other online threats.
  • Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Computers, smart phones, gaming systems, and other web enabled devices all need protection from viruses and malware.

Protect your Personal Information
Phones can contain tremendous amounts of personal information. Lost or stolen devices can be used to gather information about you and,potentially,others. Protect your phone like you would your computer.
  • Secure your phone: Use a strong passcode to lock your phone.
  • Think before you app: Review the privacy policy and understanding what data (location, access to your social networks) on your device an app can access before you download it.
  • Only give your mobile number out to people you know and trust and never give anyone else's number out without their permission.

Connect with Care
Use common sense when you connect. If you’re online through an unsecured or unprotected network, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.
  • Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.
  • Protect your finance: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with "https://" or "shttp://", which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. "Http://" is not secure.
  • When in doubt, don’t respond. Fraudulent texting, calling and voicemails are on the rise. Just like email, requests for personal information or to immediate action are almost always a scam.

Be Web Wise
Stay informed of the latest updates on your device. Know what to do if something goes wrong.
  • Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online. Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.
  • Know how to cell block others. Using caller ID, you can block all incoming calls or block individual names and numbers.
  • Use caution when meeting face-to-face with someone who you only "know" through text messaging. Even though texting is often the next step after online chatting, that does not mean that it is safer

Be a Good Online Citizen
It is easy to say things from via phone or text that you would never say face to face. Remind your kids to maintain the same level of courtesy on the phone as they would in the real world.
  • Safer for me more secure for all: What you do online has the potential to affect everyone –at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
  • Text to others only as you would have them text to you.
  • Only give your mobile number out to people you know and trust and never give anyone else's number out without their permission.
  • Get permission before taking pictures or videos of others with your phone. Likewise, let others know they need your permission before taking pictures or videos of you