Keep it Private
Keep your private and personal details safe and where possible don’t give them out online.
Block unwanted messages and never open any unwanted links or attachments.
If you receive any abusive or offensive messages, or are asked to meet someone, tell a member of staff or somebody you trust.
Using the Internet on your device
An increasing number of mobile devices are able to access the internet (mobile phones, smart devices, mp3 players, tablet devices etc) either via a web browser or a specific application.
If you use your mobile device to access sites and services that require a username and password you should treat your mobile device like your personal computer, and remember that login details can be stored on your device, and if lost or stolen anyone who finds your device potentially has access to all of your information.
Be Password smart
You can secure your device by using the pin or pass code feature that most mobile devices have. Choose a combination that won’t easily be guessed by others but something that you won’t forget either. It is also a good idea to set your device to automatically lock if it hasn’t been used for a few minutes.
Never store login details (usernames or passwords) in your contacts, messages or notes.
Check applications that you use to make sure they are not automatically storing your login details without you knowing. If you use a friend’s device to access a service, make sure that you are fully signed out when finished.
When using your device to browse the Internet, don’t save usernames and passwords if you don’t need to, particularly for any online banking sites or sensitive services.
If your device can download and install applications, make sure you obtain the applications from a reputable location (i.e. a manufacturers app store) and that you read and understand the applications use, purpose and any possible risks associated (i.e. how it stores data, and if it sends data etc).
Unauthorised applications may make your device operate abnormally and can contain malicious code or even a virus.
Avoid accessing any secure or sensitive service (such as online banking) in busy public areas; Passers by could be watching what you are typing or see personal and/or sensitive information from your devices screen.
If you connect your device to a public unsecured Wi-Fi network keep in mind that there are certain risks associated with using such a service. For example, any information that you transmit could potentially be stolen as it passes over the airwaves, or your device could be targeted by someone attempting to install a virus or other malicious software.
If you are using a public Wi-Fi service, make sure that it is a secure or subscribed service and is from a reputable source (i.e. BT Open Zone, The Cloud etc).
Many smart mobile devices today have a GPS chip in them. This allows you to use services such as maps and location-based searches.
An increasing number of services and applications are utilising the GPS capabilities of mobile devices to offer ‘check in’ location based services. Social networks in particular allow you to show everyone you connect with where in the world you are at any moment in time.
If you use location-based services, think about how you are using them and the risks associated. They are great for finding out services and options around where you are, but also remember that they can let other people know exactly where you are.
Think about what you share
Most smart mobile devices today have the ability to send and receive a great deal of information, from pictures and video in email to text and MMS messaging. It is easier than ever to share things with friends at the touch of a button. But remember, once you share something with someone there is no way to get it back, and you cannot control where that video, photo or text goes from there.
Think carefully about the things you are sharing, would you share it with your parents or grandparents? If the answer is no then you probably don’t want to share it with friends.
It is easy for personal information, videos and images to get passed around electronically and prevention is most certainly better than the cure.
Keep up to date
It is recommended that you regularly check your device manufacturer or service provider’s website for any software updates for your device(s)
Software updates often address any bugs or security flaws found in your devices software, and can also improve the stability of your device(s) and add additional features.
Protect your personal details
Think about the personal information you store on your device. It can hold a great deal of information about you all in one place which can make it easy for someone to obtain passwords and other sensitive information from the content on your device(s).
If you own a mobile device, chances are that you connect it to your computer to transfer files, music and videos etc…
Check the settings in your device(s) sync software to ensure you are only syncing the things you want and to prevent you from carrying around documents and files that are not needed.
Stick with reputable sources
Always check for signs of phishing scams or fraudulent websites when viewing the internet on your mobile device. These can be harder to spot on mobile devices but there are a few things you can do to check the authenticity of sites and services, including:
- Keep an eye on the URL (web address) to make sure you are not being diverted to another site.
- If it’s a secure site or service, check to see if there is a secure connection notification or icon (usually a small padlock).
If you use mobile internet banking via an application on your device, make sure that you only use official applications published by your bank, or your banks official website.
Don’t use any third party apps or tools, and ensure that you activate the pass code/pin feature on your device to protect against any unauthorised access.
Watch out for malicious software
When using your device, watch out for any prompts or pop-ups asking to install or run software. If you are unsure about what the message relates to, ignore/cancel it or ask someone for advice.
Mobile devices are generally quite secure, but malicious software can give criminals the opportunity they need to access a device and steal information or disable the device.
- BBC– Users of UK smartphones are being targeted by scammers
- BBC– Smartphone malware danger warning from experts
Selling or recycling your old device
Your smart device is much more than just a phone, media player or web browser. Its best to think of it like your wallet and keep it safe at all times.
If you decide to sell or recycle your device, ensure that you have formatted it first to remove all your information. Most devices have an erase or factory reset option available that will securely remove all of the content and restore the device to how it was when you first bought it.
For help on resetting your device to it’s original factory settings follow the links below: