Fall’s around the corner, and students will be returning to school, many of them with new smartphones or tablets. Is there any doubt that smartphones are here to stay? A recent Nielsen study said:
During Q2 2012 smartphone penetration continued to grow, with 54.9 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers owning smartphones as of June 2012. This growth is driven by increasing smartphone purchases: 2 out of 3 Americans who acquired a new mobile phone in the last three months chose a smartphone instead of a feature phone.
Now that smartphones seem to be part of the mainstream of American culture, it’s time for users to catch up on the basics of mobile safety. It took a while to get PC safety under control back in the day, but we eventually learned the rules. Since we now have that background in PCs, let’s hope learning smartphone safety doesn’t end up being a long, drawn-out process. Kids, young and old, especially need to be aware of all the possibilities that exist when they take on the responsibility of mobile gadgetry and online social schmoozing.
A (somewhat) comical article by Steve Ragan in SecurityWeek.com last month highlighted how astonishingly uninformed (to state it politely) some people are when it comes to sharing information. Apparently, some young individuals actually tweeted Instagram photos of their credit cards! For whatever reason, it must not have crossed the minds of these people that those photos were doomed to be shared far and wide. Here’s a quote from the same article:
“According to the U.S. Bureau of Justice, 8.6 million American households experienced identity theft in 2010, with unauthorized credit card use accounting for much of the increase from the 6.4 million households victimized in 2005. Families lost a total of $13.3 billion, with an average of $2,200 lost per household affected. A 2011 report from Javelin Strategy & Research cited by the Wall Street Journal said social media and smartphone use accounted for recent increases in identity theft.”
Teens and college kids are often technologically super-savvy when it comes to using mobile devices, and they operate all the phones’ bells and whistles like pros. Unfortunately, they don’t always take the time to learn the safety rules, perhaps the first one being – don’t post photos of your credit cards! In fact, it’s a good idea to refrain from posting anything – text or image – that you don’t want the entire world to see. Ask some Hollywood celebrities whether this is true.
As a refresher, here are some basic mobile security rules:
- Be discerning about posting photos and personal information online.
- Don’t tweet photos of your credit cards
- Download a reliable, strong mobile security app to guard you against unwanted intrusions and malware.
- Turn off your geo-location tools when you aren’t using them.
- Don’t click on anything that you didn’t invite, including ads, text messages and voicemail
- Avoid Wi-Fi hotspots
- Use a strong, complex password on your smartphone that’s different from ones you use in other applications.
- Understand that your private information is valuable to someone, and guard it carefully.
Have you experienced a mishap from posting something online that you shouldn’t have? What were the consequences? Tell us your stories. We’d love to hear from you on our blog or on our Facebook page. Don’t give us personal details, though!