Mobile Privacy Precautions

In some parts of the world it’s Privacy Awareness Week.  Initiated in Australia, it’s a time when people stop to take a more careful look into privacy issues, especially those involving digital communications.

Privacy Awareness Week’s a good reminder for all of us to consider how much of our privacy’s been absconded by the digital age, and decide whether we can live with it or not.  An article in the New York Times last week describes a woman who was identified by advertisers as an MS patient, simply because the year before she had done some online research on MS and various other diseases.  Now, labeled as an MS patient, the woman wonders whether this could affect her ability to qualify for health insurance at some point in the future, in addition to other unknown scenarios.  Is this a valid concern?  It certainly is!

Is it too late?

The woman who was targeted as an MS patient is all too familiar. How many times have you looked up something online and been bombarded with advertising about that specific thing, or even related topics? It happens constantly, every single day. Even writing an email to your mom about your dog results in Google showing you ads for flea medicine and doggie jackets.  Have you ever done an Internet search on your own name? It may be surprising what the world’s been allowed to know about you.

In the big picture, it’s probably too late to go backward. We can’t return to the good old days when what we viewed or shared online was our own business.  But there are a few things we can do to improve our personal privacy status when it comes to our mobile devices. We’ve shared them before, and share them again in honor of Privacy Awareness Week.


  • Passwords:  Passwords should be based on something obscure, like the initials of a favorite quote or personal mantra. Incorporate at least one special character, at least one number, and don’t use the name of your pets, kids, street name, company name or any other easy-to-guess word associated with you. Make sure to change your password frequently.
  • Updates:  Download security updates when you’re prompted. Keep your phone current.
  • Phone lock:  Keep the phone on a short leash with an auto-lock that will kick in after just a few minutes. If you leave your table to get a coffee, it won’t be vulnerable to prying eyes.
  • Social Networking:  Don’t overshare – be careful not to post addresses, phone numbers or information about vacations, family or other tips for potential identity thieves, stalkers or bullies. Checking-in may be fun for your friends, but it also tells stalkers and other predators where you are. Forego it, if you can.
  • System:  Keep your phone clean by deleting any data that doesn’t need to be there.
  • Notices: If you receive an urgent message from a bank or financial institution, do not click on it or provide any of the requested information. These flash messages often want you to think your account’s in jeopardy and that you need to re-enter your private data.  It isn’t, you don’t – and you shouldn’t.
  • Permissions:  Learn to read permission agreements, end-user license agreements and terms of service agreements to make sure you’re not giving away private data when downloading new apps. And while you’re at it, teach your kids what to look for.
  • Wi-Fi: Public Wi-Fi hotspots are often an easy target for cybercriminals. Make sure you’re working within a secured network. Hotels, coffee shops and malls are often the worst places to go online. Merchants don’t always provide super-tight WiFi security because they don’t want to require passwords, and they want to accommodate every kind of device. Besides, a good cyber-criminal knows how to break most Wi-Fi systems.
  • Security: Always use a strong mobile security product to keep out the viruses, malware and fraudulent demons that tend to slip into your phone’s system when you do a lot of web surfing.
  • When you dispose of a phone, be sure it’s wiped clean of all data.

Share your thoughts and ideas about privacy here on our blog, or talk to us on our Facebook page. We’d love to hear from you.

Family Guardian Chosen as Finalist for CTIA Award


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NQ Mobile’s proud to announce that our popular app, Family Guardian, was chosen asEmerging Technology (E-Tech) Awards competition. CTIA–The Wireless Association® is an international organization representing the wireless communications industry. Why are we excited? Each year, CTIA E-Tech Awards honors the most innovative … Continue reading

Eight Ways for Mobile Users to Honor Earth Day

Earth Day brings up reminders of healthy living and responsible habits. Reducing our carbon footprint and conserving energy are practices of every good Earth citizen. As mobile device owners, we need to be aware that earth-friendly habits are important, not only for us to remember, but to teach our kids.  Here are some reminders:

  1. Don’t leave your mobile chargers plugged in. They sap power needlessly.
  2. Dialaphone suggests we replace our old devices only when absolutely necessary, rather than purchasing a new one every time a new model arrives.  The average American phone is replaced every 22 months!
  3. Some mobile companies employ green practices, and there are manufacturers working on producing green mobile phones.  Take a moment to find them before deciding on a new mobile purchase.
  4. Support the idea of solar powered chargers. Currently marketed for use in the field, they could be incorporated into household use for better energy management.
  5. Check your mobile phone settings to be sure you’re using the least amount of power possible.
  6. Donate your used mobile phone to charity to an organization that refurbishes phones for those in the military.
  7. Choose mobile apps that don’t sap your device’s energy resources.
  8. Perhaps most importantly, RECYCLE.  Find your local electronics recycling station and dispose of your devices efficiently and safely.  If you can’t bear to let go of your valuable phone, find an ecoATM kiosk and get a few bucks for it. Don’t contribute to your local landfill by throwing devices in the garbage. If you doubt the damage electronic devices can wreak in a landfill, check out this article by Wirefly that explains the chemicals released and their effect on our water.

Every small effort helps toward keeping our planet clean and safe for future generations.  Join us at NQ Mobile as we celebrate the earth today, and make a commitment to be responsible mobile citizens for life.

Catch Up With the Latest News from NQ Mobile’s Research Team

Around the globe, NQ Mobile’s team of security professionals are taking the pulse of the mobile landscape every day. They report back all the good news – like, about how we consumers are doing better at protecting our mobile devices – and sometimes they have some less-than-pleasant news to report. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of news they have for us this week.Malware discoveries by year

Our researchers are noticing an increase in skilled hackers partnering up with criminals by selling them data that they’ve stolen. In turn, cybercriminals are using the info they purchase to get access to the finances of consumers like you and me. They use tricky methods that, in the mobile business, are called “social engineering.” In simple terms, they manipulate unwitting consumers into giving up their valuable confidential information.

Tremendous growth, worldwide

Our professionals estimate that more than 10 million devices have already been infected in the first quarter of this year!  Here are some of their key findings:

  • Over 32.8 million Android devices were infected in 2012 vs. 10.8 million in 2011 – a whopping increase of over 200 percent
  • The top five markets for infected mobile devices were China (25.5%), India (19.4%), Russia (17.9%), United States (9.8%) and Saudi Arabia (9.6%)
  • 65% of malware discovered in 2012 falls into a broader category of Potentially Unwanted Programs (or PUPs). PUPs include root exploits, spyware, pervasive adware and Trojans (surveillance hacks)
  • 28% of mobile malware discovered in 2012 was designed to collect and profit from a user’s personal data
  • 7% of malware was simply designed to make a user’s device stop working (i.e., “bricking” their phones)

Our Co-CEO, Omar Khan, said “The security industry’s ‘discover-first-and-inoculate-second’ strategy is no longer enough,” said Omar Khan , Co-CEO, NQ Mobile. “We need smarter systems that can discover threats before they infect consumers as well as more education so consumers can better spot and avoid these new mobile scams.”

What we can do as consumers

The very first step we can take is to make sure we have the strongest mobile security Global infection ratesproduct available on our mobile devices. When purchasing a new phone or tablet, make this your first priority. If you already own mobile devices, take a moment to get them protected from all the viruses, scams and malware that have the potential to invade your privacy and steal your assets.

Cyber criminals get trickier every day. As consumers, we need to get ahead of them and become a cohesive force to thwart their illegal activities. Cyber crime is no joke. Don’t wait until it happens to you. No one’s exempt. Protect the privacy and well-being of your family and business as a first priority.

Read our news release for more information.

Kids & Mobile Devices: Biggest Parental Concerns


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This is our second blog post about the recent consumer survey our researchers at NQ Mobile conducted, to find out how people view safety threats associated with their mobile devices. Parental Concerns Not surprisingly, 44% of our survey respondents with kids 17 and under … Continue reading

Your Mobile Phone, Spruced Up for Spring


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Spring is a beautiful time of year. Kids are playing outside, people are tending their gardens and nature‘s putting on a show.  It’s a great time for connecting with family and friends, after a long winter.  Send your friends an e-card, … Continue reading