TOP | Weekly Column | (Brunei) Protect Your Mobile Devices

Protect Your Mobile Devices
Senior Security Analyst
Mr. Hj Mas Zuraime Hj Abd Hamid

In Brunei, it is estimated the total number of mobile devices is around 500,000 devices, which is 122% of the Brunei population. Mobile devices are considered an essential item which is a must have for everyone. Nowadays, phones and tablets contain a large amount of personal information.  Lost or stolen devices can be used to gather information about you and potentially others. More than half of all smartphones are now running Android operating system.  Because Android is an ‘open source’ operating system, anyone can produce and release apps for it. As a result, Android devices are more prone to malware than other mobile operating systems.
Cybercriminals produce mobile malware to steal personal information, monitor calls, intercept messages, and even activate your device’s microphone or camera.  When a stranger has access to your mobile device, the risks include invasion of privacy, identity theft, cyber bullying and even extortion.
Protect your phone the same way you would protect your computer. If your phone can browse the web and check email without your consent, you have probably already been targeted by some malicious software that goes after your information. In order to protect yourself, please follow these tips:
Protect your mobile device

  •    Use a password on your phone and a PIN on your SIM card. Don’t rely on the default factory settings. Using a password and PIN will deter thieves from accessing your phone or using the SIM in another phone to make calls.
  •    Set an idle timeout that automatically locks your phone when not in use. This also helps prevent unauthorized individuals from gaining access to your data.
  •    Keep all software up-to-date, including the operating system and installed apps. This will help protect the device from attacks and being compromised.
  •    Do not jailbreak or root your device. Jailbreaking and rooting removes the manufacturer’s protection against malware.
  •    Install apps only from trusted sources such as the Apple iTunes Store or Google Play. This will help you avoid malware which is often distributed via illicit channels.

If your mobile device is lost or stolen
Immediately change all passwords for accounts that are accessed on your mobile device, especially email accounts. If someone gains access to the device, they will have access to all your email, social networks and shopping apps until all your passwords are changed.
Mobile devices often do not come preinstalled with security software to protect against malicious applications, spyware, malware-based attacks, unwanted spam messages and e-mail attachments. Without security software, there is a risk that an attacker could distribute viruses, Trojans, spyware and spam to lure users into revealing passwords or other confidential information.

  •    Use virus detection software to protect your mobile device against malicious applications.
  •    Ensure that your antivirus software has anti-malware capabilities and built-in firewall.
  •    Enable your antivirus protection at all times.
  •    Regularly update your virus scanner.
  •    Scan your applications and memory card regularly.

Remember “It’s not just a phone”

  •    Treat your smartphone like your wallet – keep it safe and on you at all times.
  •    Remember your smartphone is a computer – all the same security rules apply. This includes checking the authenticity of websites, not clicking on links from people you don’t know, and watching out for phishing scams asking for personal information.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the organization or its affiliates, and the copyright belongs to the author.