We are relying more and more on our mobile devices to run and manage our day-to-day lives. Smartphones act as our map, diary, wallet, shopping platform and social connection device. Realising this, cybercriminals are actively developing mobile-focused attacks designed to compromise personal information and your financial security. It is important that mobile application end users increase their awareness to the dangers around their personal information and data being compromised and falling into the hands of people with ill intent. Cybercriminals can use malicious apps to compromise your security regardless of the mobile you have. These apps can come in the form of pop-up ads or the app simply asking you to install or download certain files or software. This can result in ransomware attacks where the attacker demands payment to unlock your files or malware gaining access to your credit card details and private information. It is critical when downloading mobile apps to look for any anomalies, poor grammar or spelling as well as the legitimacy of the app developer or brand. It is important to stay alert and avoid installing unknown apps from untrusted websites. Most established cybercriminals can hack into any phone so there is no guarantee that following the steps will ensure that your mobile phone remains fully secure, but they might help.  Here are 10 suggested tips to safeguard your mobile:

  1. Download and install apps only from authorised stores such as Google Play and Apple’s App Store.
  2. Once an app has been downloaded make sure you manage the permissions of each individual app. To access permissions on an iOS device, go to ‘Settings> Privacy’ and on an Android device go to ‘Settings>Apps & notifications >Apps’ and follow the prompts.
  3. Beware of phishing. Avoid downloading, installing and clicking on suspicious looking apps from social media, email links, text messages or websites.
  4. It is essential to install a mobile security tool to protect your device against any potential malicious breaches. Security antivirus apps have been developed for both Android and iOS / iPhones to keep mobiles secure.
  5. Download and install any operating system updates as soon as they become available for your Android or iOS / iPhone.
  6. Research the fine print on what information each app is collecting such as your location or what permissions you are granting apps e.g.: accessing your files or contacts.
  7. Regularly review current apps and uninstall any apps that are no longer in use
  8. Ensure your mobile has a unique access code such as a six-digit passcode or fingerprint recognition.
  9. Disable auto-logins and saving passwords for online services
  10. Lastly, in case your mobile is stolen, lost or destroyed make sure you activate automatic backup to the cloud to ensure all your data and apps are automatically synchronised in the cloud. You can even enable the “find my device” function where you can locate your phone on a map and remotely lock or erase it.

These days your personal information literally fits in the palm of your hand.  Be aware, be vigilant and stay protected.

By Andrise Swanepoel, Finance & HR Manager

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