When people consider information security, the first thing that occurs to them is protecting their desktop or laptop computer from malware or other unwanted applications. However, increasingly mobile devices such as phones and tablets are the primary computing method used by many people. These devices require security consideration just as much as other computing devices.
Here are some tips to secure mobile devices.
- When installing a new app from the Google or Apple store, pay attention to the permissions the application is requesting, and do not give the application more permissions than needed. For instance, why would the QR Reader you downloaded need to access your contacts list or your microphone? Deny permissions that are above and beyond what an application should logically require to function.
- Consumer VPNs are incredibly affordable now. A decade ago, using a VPN was pricey; now, secure, and reputable consumer-level VPNs are available for as little as $10 a month. And those services also provide applications for mobile devices for use when connecting to a non-secure Wi-Fi or cellular network. So, before jumping on that Starbucks Wi-Fi, connect to a VPN first.
- Do a bit of research before downloading an app on a phone or tablet. There have been multiple stories of applications that appear innocuous installing malware on phones in the last five years. Just because an application is available in the app store does not mean it is secure or well-vetted.
- Bluetooth is excellent for wireless earbuds and other features. However, turn Bluetooth off when it is not in use. Every year, cybercriminals discover new ways to exploit mobile devices via Bluetooth.
- It is common to install and run anti-virus or anti-malware on software on desktop and laptop computers. However, there are a variety of anti-virus applications available for mobile phones and tablets. These applications can significantly assist in maintain device security. However, research the application thoroughly before downloading and installing the application.
- Finally, encrypt device storage, including any SD cards installed in the device. Android and iOS devices provide encryption options in the device settings.