Smartphone Security - NIU - Division of Information Technology



Information Security

Smartphone Security

10 ways to secure your smartphone

1. Lock your phone and use a strong password

  • Android: From the home screen, press Menu, Settings, Location & Security, Screen Unlock. To set the screen time-out, press Menu, Settings, Display. 
  • BlackBerry: From the home screen, click Options, Security Options, General Settings. 
  • iOS: Earlier versions of iOS allow only for a four-digit code (which isn't ideal). iOS 4 introduced the option to set a longer password. Open the Settings app, and then select General, Passcode Lock. Just above Passcode Lock is the Auto-Lock option, which controls the time-out.
  • Windows Phone 7: Open Settings, and then select Lock and Wallpaper.

(source: Smartphone Security - How to Keep Your Handset Safe)

2. Use 'Find My iPhone' or a similar service 

Not only does this protect your data, it could help you recover your phone.

  • Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Phone 7: There are many free and inexpensive apps. Lookout Mobile Security is one example. It enables you to wipe your device via the Web, track a lost device through GPS, back up your data over the air, and even scan for viruses. The basic version is free, but features such as remote wipe require a Premium account ($3 a month or $30 a year). 
  • iOS: For iOS 4.2 or higher, download the Find My Phone app from the App Store. If you have an older version of iOS, get a paid MobileMe account for $99 a year. 

(source: Smartphone Security - How to Keep Your Handset Safe)

3. Don't leave your smartphone unattended or lend it to a stranger

Don't leave your phone out in public where it can be grabbed by an opportunist. 
The person who needs to make an emergency call could be in legitimate need of help--or not. Make the call yourself, and put it on speakerphone. Do not hand the person your phone.

4. Update your smartphone
Smartphone system updates may include security updates. 

5. Manage location settings
Most phones come with location tracking features. This is good when you are using a map. Many apps come with location tracking. You can turn this off in most cases. If you want to make your location as secret as possible, turn off all forms of location tracking.

6. Download apps only from official apps stores
Apps that have not been approved by an official app store are more likely to be invasive. 

7. Find out everything an app does before installing it
Read the "Permissions" screen. What data is being accessed/stored:

  • location?
  • call history?
  • contacts?
  • URL history?
  • passwords?

Where and how long will it be stored? Will it be sent to 3rd parties? What do the app reviews say?

8. Beware of attachments and links in email

  • Don’t open suspicious e-mails and texts
  • Don’t open attachments unless you know they are legitimate
  • Don’t visit sites unless you know they are legitimate

If in doubt about a site, check it here:

9. Encrypt Smartphone Data
How to encrypt your smartphone for iOS and Android

10. Run anti-virus software:

  • Android, BlackBerry, or Windows Phone 7: Consider Lookout Mobile Security. It scans your phone for malware and spyware. Symantec has tools for Android and Windows Phone 7. AVG AntiVirus FREE for Android
  • iOS: No anti-virus apps are available on a consumer level. The Trend Smart Surfing app blocks access to websites known to contain malware.

(source: Smartphone Security - How to Keep Your Handset Safe)

US Government tips for securing mobile devices