Attorney General Urges People To Keep New Smartphones Secure

Attorney General Urges People To Keep New Smartphones Secure

By / State News / Wednesday, 01 October 2014 04:00

RALEIGH, N.C. - As technology enthusiasts stand in line to get the latest smartphones, Attorney General Cooper wants to remind consumers to take precautions to keep personal information stored on mobile phones secure. “Your phone can contain just as much personal information and sensitive data as your computer and your wallet,” Cooper said.  “A lost, stolen or unsecured smartphone can leave you vulnerable to identity theft, credit card fraud and other threats.” To protect personal information on smartphones, Cooper offered the following tips:
• Keep your smartphone locked.  Set a passcode or pin on your home screen so if someone finds your phone they can’t access your applications or private information.  It’s also a good idea to set your phone to automatically lock after a certain period of idle time.
• Be cautious when downloading apps. Only download apps from trusted sources and make sure to check the ratings.  Apps from untrusted sources may contain malware which can steal your personal information and install viruses onto your phone.  Be sure to read the fine print to find out what access the app will have, such as access to photos and contacts.  
• Turn off location software. Geolocation software pin-points your exact location using your phones GPS latitude and longitude data.  Many apps use this software to allow you to “check-in” or tag your whereabouts in pictures.  Keep in mind that criminals often troll social networking sites and can use this information to target you.
• Use wireless wisely. Connecting to Wi-Fi hotspots can cut down on your data-usage but it’s important to make sure the network is secure.  If you are using a public Wi-Fi network, don’t conduct sensitive business or banking transactions that could cause harm if intercepted by someone else. If you are using a Wi-Fi network at a restaurant or library, ask an employee the name of their wireless network.  Criminals will use a legitimate sounding name like “coffeeshop-guest” to lure unsuspecting users to a
wireless network they have set up to steal your personal information.
• Don’t save passwords.  Be sure to logout of websites and apps when you are done.  Don’t allow apps to save your username and password, especially banking sites or sites where your credit or debit card information may be stored.
• Erase data before you get rid of your phone.  Since your smartphone has personal information stored on it, be sure to erase pictures, contacts and other information.  It’s also a good idea to restore the phone to the original default settings so your information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.
“Technology can make our lives easier but sharing too much personal information can be risky,” warned Cooper.  “Take time now to secure your smartphone to protect yourself.”

For more info visit: http://www.ncdoj.gov

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