What you need to know about smartphones and mobile privacy

Smartphones can be dangerously insecure when it comes to protecting your privacy, yet a recent study found that 48% of smartphone owners don’t use a passcode to lock their devices. Whoever controls your phone also controls your virtual identity, so make an effort to protect yourself today. Check out our infographic below to learn more about smartphone privacy and ways in which your smartphone can be hacked.


If you are concerned about your mobile privacy then it’s a great idea to go set a passcode for your smartphone right now. If you’re looking for more sure-fire ways to keep both your online identity and your smartphone safe, don’t forget to add an extra layer of protection like our award-winning NQ Mobile Security app.

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.

Surprising: Even After Losing a Mobile Device, One in Three Still Don’t Lock It Up

Losing your mobile device can be a disturbing, and even devastating event. People lose financial data, photos of their kids, important contact information, private info, and even company data. Once you’ve had that experience, you automatically take extra precautions not to lose one again. Right?

Not necessarily. A recent survey conducted by NQ Mobile says that of every three unfortunate consumers who experience a lost mobile phone, whether by accident or theft, at least one of them still won’t bother to lock up the new phone.

Most people perceive a lost or stolen phone or device as a hard lesson – one that changes their conscious behavior when they’re forced to buy a new one. After losing a phone and having to get a new one, 69% of those consumers take steps to protect their new devices. As illogical as it may seem, 31% still choose to leave their new devices open and vulnerable. Where’s the disconnect?

It’s definitely a concern

Our survey reveals that most of us are aware of all the things that could go wrong if we were to lose a mobile device. In fact, in order of concern, these are the things that frighten most users about losing a phone:

  1. Losing saved contacts
  2. An intruder reading their emails or texts
  3. Having an unauthorized person post to their social networking accounts
  4. Having their photos or videos posted publicly

So, the awareness is there, but only 52% of those we surveyed used a passcode or some kind of safety method to prevent stranger-access to their device. Interestingly enough, younger consumers are more likely to take precautions. 64% of respondents aged 18 to 34 use some method of device locking, as opposed to only 30% aged 55 and up.

More than a few of us have lost a phone or device

A significant 25% of our respondents said they’ve either lost a device or had one stolen in the past. Of these devices, 40% were unprotected. After getting a new phone, 69% of those who lost unlocked phones changed their ways and added some kind of  protection to their device. But, surprisingly,  31%  still gamble with leaving their phone unlocked and unprotected.  People are funny.

Parents and kids

Our next blog post will explore what this latest survey reveals about parents and their concerns connected with their kids’ use of smartphones. In the meantime, here’s a short list of tips from our researchers about protecting your interests on your smartphone or other mobile devices:

  1. Lock It Up.
  2. Share Wisely.
  3. Do Your Research.
  4. Arm Your Device. 

For more tools to protect your smartphone from intrusions, attacks and snoops, visit NQ Mobile.

Read our full press release.


Real Parents Award NQ Family Guardian the PTPA “Most Trusted” Seal

Parent Tested, Parent Approved WinnerWe already knew the truth about Family Guardian. But now, twenty thousand unbiased parents have awarded NQ Mobile’s Family Guardian their highest rating of excellence through PTPA Media Inc. (Parent Tested, Parent Approved).

When parents see our PTPA Winner’s seal on Family Guardian, they can rest assured they’ve found a high-quality product that’s been given an emphatic seal of approval by other parents. It’s PTPA’s mission to discover the finest parenting products by letting real consumers test and evaluate them in the privacy of their own homes. Independent parent volunteers choose the winners, based on merit and user experience.

Parent testers are not influenced by advertising or commercial interests,so the PTPA Winner’s seal means this is a product parents can really trust.

This is a proud win for NQ Mobile because, as our own Victoria Repice commented, “As mobile devices continue to increase in popularity and replace other connected devices, safety for families and individuals will continue to be a paramount concern. NQ Family Guardian allows parents to unobtrusively manage their kids’ mobile phone usage, while also ensuring a safe and fun experience.”

Sharon Vinderine, CEO and founder of PTPA Media Inc, had this to say about this coveted award: “At PTPA Media, we are proud to play a role in certifying innovative products that families can trust. When consumers search for our Seal of Approval on product packaging and web sites, they are essentially searching for validation from their peers.  Their peers will have objectively tested and approved these products based on their performance in a real life environment. That type of resource for families is priceless.

Look for the PTPA seal when you download NQ Family Guardian. It’s just another reminder that we at NQ Mobile care about you and your kids. Family Guardian’s available on the Google Play store along with NQ Mobile Security and NQ Mobile Vault for Android.

 Read our news release.

Mobile Payments – Where’s it Headed?

Research predicts that mobile payments will reach the $90 billion mark by 2017.  Several methods of mobile paying are functional now, as businesses, bankers and consumers gradually get on board with the idea. But, the popularity of mobile paying is growing rapidly. We’re headed toward a time when cash, and even plastic, may become obsolete.  Even the magic strip on credit cards could become an historical curiosity, as NFC (Near Field Communication) payments flourish, and we become accustomed to waving a mobile device in front of a scanner to pay for our purchases.

It’s still early in the world of mobile payments

As financial giants like MasterCard and Citicard struggle to develop ways to conform their business to the mobile environment, companies like Google are improving the “wallet” concept, and individual banks and institutions are hurrying to adapt their individual systems to be mobile-friendly. Needless to say, right now, mobile payment methods are still in varied and complex stages of development.

How much do we really want to know?

Do we, as consumers, have the time or inclination to understand the complexities and challenges that are faced by developers of mobile payment systems? Absolutely not. What do we want? We want a secure, simple system that reliably works in approximately the same way, wherever we go. And, ultimately, we won’t have to manually enter account numbers and passwords, but will prefer to wave our all-inclusive device over a terminal that will read our data and process it correctly.

Really cool ideas quickly become dinosaurs

Payment devices that snap onto phones, such as the Square, are cool and convenient for taking credit card payments on the spot, but we still have to enter data and a signature to complete a transaction. Currently, the most popular way to pay for goods via mobile is the way we’ve done it for the last couple decades – through an online website and a credit card number (WAP, or mobile web payments).  It’s familiar and it’s available and who doesn’t shop on the Internet? But, researchers predict that “proximity” payments – the kind you make with a wave of your phone – will become the fastest growing method, accounting for “$41 billion of payments made via mobile by 2017.”

Looking ahead

Is it a little creepy to imagine that the wave of a device will one day pay for your groceries, as well as  your new car? Right now, it’s still a novelty available with only a handful of merchants, like Starbucks. But if the experts are right, we’ll soon be able to pay for almost anything with NFC.

In the meantime, don’t forget to protect your mobile device with a powerful mobile security product! Share your ideas and concerns about mobile paying with us on our Facebook page, or leave a comment on our blog. We’d love to hear from you.

The Pleasures (and Problems) of Cyber Dating

There was a time in the not-too-distant past when it was uncommon to say you’d met your love interest on a dating site. Fast-forward to 2013–online dating is now a  $4 billion industry, with no signs of slowing down. Meeting someone special online has become the norm. It eliminates the need to hang out at bars, it’s discreet, you can sort down to the type of person that interests you and, well, let’s be honest–it’s convenient!

As with any $4 billion cyber industry, the dangers of online dating can be daunting. There’s hardly a  cyber-niche that hasn’t been targeted by criminals, and this one’s no exception. Here are a few safety reminders for when you’re shopping online for a date or a partner:

  • It’s always a good practice to avoid clicking on links for ads that offer something free. Valentine’s Day, in particular, tends to generate a lot of fakery in terms of phishing scams, and tempting invitations that send you a gift of malware in exchange for a click.
  • Because there’s so much online purchasing activity during this time, be extra careful about checking for valid URLs, and deal only with reputable retailers. Sometimes a fake URL’s not as obvious on a mobile device, so double-checking is a good practice.
  • Don’t send money to anyone you don’t know as a real, live person. If your new cyber relationship develops into one where you’re being asked to send money, credit card or bank information, you may be the victim of a dating scammer. It’s sad, but losing your money might be worse than losing this loser.
  • Don’t tell online acquaintances if you’re planning to be on vacation, and don’t leave your smartphone’s geo-location features on.
  • Make sure your mobile device has a powerful security system in place to keep the demons away.
  • Use only a well-known, reputable dating service. Check their credentials. There are thousands of them, and some don’t have your bests interests at heart.

We tend to be a little vulnerable around Valentine’s Day, whether we’re in a relationship or single. Chocolates and flowers have a way of touching the soft spots in our hearts, and it’s a dating time of year. Go ahead and spoil yourself and your partner, if you have one, but don’t spoil your special holiday–cyber-criminals love Valentine’s Day, too. Stay mobile-safe and secure.