More than 30,000 mobile phones were stolen last year in Ireland with 16,000 in Dublin alone. With the theft of a smartphone the most valuable part of it is also lost: your data. That’s why it’s important for any smartphone owner to have basic security measures in place in case of mobile phone theft or loss. In this brief we’ll share with you five basic security tips to better protect your mobile data.
Write down your mobile’s IMEI and keep it in a safe place
This is the very first thing you should do as soon as you get your mobile. The IMEI is a 14 to 17 digits number that uniquely identifies any mobile device worldwide. Write down the IMEI in case you need to report the theft or loss of your mobile to local authorities and your mobile phone’s operator so they can block it making it unusable – at least in your country – even if the mobile is unlocked afterwards and the SIM card has been changed.
Quick Tip: Dial *#06# to display your IMEI
Lock Your Mobile With A PIN Or Password
Locking your smartphone with a PIN is the most basic way for protecting your mobile from unauthorized access. On a smartphone you can lock your screen and your SIM.
Use A Mobile Finder
Subscribe to a mobile finder service so you can locate your smartphone anytime anywhere. Some services such as Samsung Dive allow Samsung devices owners not only to track their mobiles but also to lock them remotely and completely wipe out the memory if needed to be.
Back Up Your Data Regularly
In your smartphone you probably have contacts lists, photos and other private data. Back up your smartphone’s data to a cloud storage e.g. server online with storage capability, your computer or both periodically. So if your mobile phone is stolen or lost you can always restore your backed up data in a new mobile.
Read Apps Permissions And Use Your Common Sense
Although you might have locked your smartphone with a PIN a malicious user can get access to your data through other means such as a malevolent app or malware. Therefore before installing an app on your mobile make sure to read and understand the permissions it requires in order to run and see if it makes sense. For instance why a QR Code reader would need access to your contacts list for? If it looks dodgy or are in doubt then refrain from install.
At last if unfortunately your mobile phone has been stolen or if you lost your smartphone report it immediately to your mobile phone’s operator and local authorities if applies e.g. theft. Don’t forget to mention the IMEI you’ve carefully written down based on our advice 😉 even if not asked for it (we know of at least one customer who hasn’t been asked for the IMEI by the police). By the way if you’re going to make an insurance claim you’ll need to get the claim form stamped by the police.
That’s it for the tips. Now if you bring “Enterprise Mobility” in the equation then “mobile security” covers an even more serious meaning for which strict policies – from system and users perspectives – have to be in place in particular in organisations where Bring Your Own Device or BYOD applies. But that is beyond the scope of this brief and might be part of an article on its own.
Links Of Interest
- Get smart about mobile phone safety – Microsoft Security Center
- How to Protect a Mobile Phone from Being Stolen – wikiHow
- Gardai urge smart-phone users to note security code as number of thefts soars – Irish Independent (April 2013)
- Mobile Phone Theft Prevention Tips – An Garda Síochána – National Crime Prevention Unit