Editor's Note: This Tip of the Week is brought to you by the Dairy Calf & Heifer Association (DCHA).
Most weeks, DCHA's Tips focus on how to raise quality dairy calves and heifers. With almost half of the adult U.S. population owning a smartphone, and after seeing everyone on their smartphones at the recent DCHA conference, we thought it might be a good idea to offer some reminders on how to keep your smartphone safe and secure.
Here are several recommendations from the nonprofit Identity Theft Resource Center.
- Password-protect your phone. This is the simplest step you can take to prevent your information from being accessed. Make sure it is a strong password that is not similar to or associated with any other personal information.
- Install security software. There are a number of companies which offer anti-virus, malware and security software designed especially for smartphones. Make sure to download security software updates.
- Be aware of what you are doing on your phone. The same precautions you would take while on your home computer apply to your smartphone. Double check URLs for accuracy, don't open suspicious links and make sure a site is secure (https) before giving any billing or personal information.
- Do not "jail-break" or use a "jail-broken" phone. A "jail-broken" phone is a phone that has gone through a process which opens its operating system to applications which would otherwise not be compatible with the operating system. However, once "jail-broken", the phone is vulnerable to anything the user downloads. Note: The application necessary to jail-break an iPhone may put both your phone and PC at risk.
- When installing an app on any smartphone, take the time to read the "small print." Evaluate the information the app requires access to, and consider if this information is necessary for the app to run successfully. If you cannot see a reason for the app to have access to the information, you should reconsider installing the app.
- Install a "phone finder" app. These apps are designed to help you find your phone if it becomes lost or stolen.
- Enroll in a backup/wiping program. You can enroll in a program that will back up the information on your smartphone to your home computer. Many of these services are also able to "wipe" your phone if it is lost or stolen so that no data remains on the device itself. These services are available through your smartphone's manufacturer or through your wireless provider. iPhones have a built-in "wipe" feature that can be turned on that will wipe the phone after 10 failed log-on attempts.
- Limit your activities while using public Wi-Fi. Try not to purchase things or access email while using a public Wi-Fi zone. Public Wi-Fi hotspots are targeted by hackers since they can give the hacker direct access to your mobile device. Using your 3G network provider connection is much more secure than using a public Wi-Fi connection.
- Check URLs before making a purchase using your smartphone. Any page that requires credit card information should start with https://. This means it is a secured site.
For more tips on how to protect your identity, your computer and smartphone, visit www.idtheftcenter.org.