How to protect your mobile identity

The National Cybersecurity Awareness Month has witnessed bankers sharing essential steps that can be followed by users to safeguard their mobile devices from all cyberthreats. This is an initiative that the National Cyber Security Alliances organizes annually in the month of October to sensitize the public on matters of cybercrime and cybersecurity.

The Federal Reserve determined that a significant number of people that constitute the population of the United States have access to an internet-enabled device or a smartphone. Virginia bankers recommended several tips that can assist consumers to safeguard the data they have on their mobile devices against access by cyberthieves. This was a form of recognition of the National Cybersecurity. The tips include the following:

• Always use passcode locks on your smartphone or other internet enabled devices. These passcode locks make it challenging for the information on your smartphone or internet-enabled device to be accessed by thieves in case it is stolen or gets lost.

• It is advisable to completely log out on completion of a mobile banking session. This helps in erasing log in details.

• Consumers should install mobile security software on their smartphones to safeguard them from malicious software and viruses. This should be done in a similar fashion to computers.

• All the updates of mobile apps and those of the smartphone itself should always be downloaded.

• Caution should be exercised when mobile apps are being downloaded. This is because they might contain harmful viruses, worms and malicious software. A common characteristic of malicious mobile apps is that they normally ask for permissions that are unnecessary.

• Consumers should never store sensitive information such as social security numbers or passwords on their mobile devices. This may seem trivial but it really helps.

• People should notify their financial institutions with immediate effect when they lose their mobile devices or when they change their phone number.

• Consumers should be extra careful with shoulder surfers. This is because observation is ranked as a basic form by which information can be stolen particularly when sensitive information is being keyed in. This calls for people to be aware of their surroundings.

• It is recommended for users to wipe clean their mobile devices prior to trading them, selling them or even offering them up for donation. The technique used in wiping the mobile device should be that which is recommended by the respective manufacturer. Alternatively, a specialized software can be utilized. There are softwares that are perfectly capable of remotely wiping out information contained on a device when is stolen or is lost.

• Consumers should keep mobile phishing in mind. This involves avoiding the opening of attachments and links contained in texts and emails. This mostly applies for senders that an individual does not know. In addition, consumers are advised to stay away from ads that claim that their mobile devices are infected. However, this does not apply for ads from their respective security providers.

• It is wise for consumers to completely avoid public Wi-Fi because they are never secure. This means that no banking transactions should be performed on public networks.

Consumers should always report to their banks any case of suspected fraud with immediate effect.