Cybersecurity in 2022- What About Your Cell Phone?
We all understand that cybersecurity is, or should be, a major priority. Every time we access the internet, we’re potentially exposing ourselves and our personal information to hackers and scammers. But what about our cell phones? Is the risk level the same for cell phones as it is for laptops or desktops, and are there mobile specific safety measures we should take?
Even though many of us are familiar with cybersecurity best practices and even follow them as best we can, we also tend to do this more diligently when using our laptops and desktops compared to our cell phones. Why is that? Well, most people just don’t consider the fact that the risk level is just as high on a cell phone. Also, people tend to view their phones as more “personal.” Today’s cell phones are essentially always connected to a network, they store tons of data, photos, videos, and more. They are also used for mobile shopping and banking, among other things.
Mobile devices now account for over 60% of all digital fraud. This is due to the fact that our cell phones are not only susceptible to attacks, they are a target. Hackers know that if they can access someone’s phone, they can most likely access everything they need to scam them. Don’t worry though, there are some ways you can protect yourself and your cell phone from hackers and malicious attacks.
Don’t Use Public USB Charging Stations
Nothing is more frustrating than being away from work or home and having your cell phone battery die. Especially if you’re traveling. This can make the option to use a public charging station pretty appealing, however, it may not be the best idea. When you connect your phone to that USB port, you are opening up the possibility of having data transferred through that port, whether it’s your data going out or malicious data coming in. It’s a better idea to always carry your charger and charging cube or a portable charger with you.
Use Public Wi-Fi Cautiously (If at all)
Public wi-fi can be convenient, not to mention the fact that it’s usually free. Public wi-fi networks are also much less secure than a private network, and can expose your data to attacks. Criminals have been known to create fake public wi-fi networks hoping people will join them, and when they do they steal all of their personal data. If you must use a public wi-fi network, you should use a VPN (virtual private network) to secure your connection and prevent attacks.
Keep Tabs on Your Apps
How many different apps do you have on your phone? Chances are you have at least a few, if not many. Many apps will have you routinely approve different permission requests for the app to access your contacts, photos, and more. Many times, you have to do this in order to use the app. You should review all apps on your phone regularly and remove any that you aren’t using. For those that you are using, make sure you trust them. You can review your permissions in your settings to see what apps have permission to access your data.
Never Click on Unsolicited Links
It’s very common for scammers to send out masses of text messages enticing people to click on a link to “access” something, whether it’s a billing or account statement, free offer, etc. These often come in the form of a lookalike message from someone claiming to be a creditor, merchant, or financial institution. They will send you a message saying there’s a problem with your account or order, and ask you to click a link to provide or access more information. Some of these links may be malicious and can infect your device, others are designed to get you to provide personal information, which is then used to open accounts, etc. This is called phishing. Unless you’re expecting a text message, do not click on any links or reply to it, ever.
But What If I DID Click on The Link??
If you’ve clicked on a link you suspect may be malicious, there are some steps you can take immediately to help prevent further damage.
- Immediately change the password for the spoofed account or website you were asked to access
- Contact the company that was being spoofed to let them know about the scam
- Watch for warning signs of identity theft, such as unauthorized purchases or new accounts in your name
- File a report with the FTC
Make Sure Your Phone is Password Protected
Imagine how much information someone could get about you if they found your phone laying on the sidewalk (or if they outright stole it). Making sure your phone is protected by a password or passcode can prevent someone from accessing its contents. Make sure your phone locks after a few seconds. Some phones will allow you to use facial recognition or a finger print as a way to unlock the phone, making it even more difficult for someone to access it.
You should also always back up all of your data, in case your phone is stolen or has to be wiped clean. You can set up your phone so that after so many failed login attempts it will wipe all data from the phone. You can even set this up remotely so if you lose your phone or it’s stolen you can wipe it clean from any location, preventing your information from being available to hackers.
Becoming a victim of a scam or having your identity stolen can turn your whole life upside down and cause a great deal of financial strain. Being vigilant about cybersecurity on all devices should always be a priority. Now that you’ve learned some new techniques to protect yourself all you need to do is put them into action! You can also learn more tips about cybersecurity, keep up-to-date on fraud & scam alerts, and more on our website!
Citizens Savings Bank has multiple locations throughout Lackawanna, Wayne, and Monroe Counties. For branch locations and hours, visit our website. We also have a Customer Support Team ready to answer any questions you may have. Call us today at 1-800-692-6279 or email [email protected]. Member FDIC. Equal Housing Lender.