Simple Steps to Secure your Phone
Unless you have been living under a rock for the last few months, you can’t fail to have noticed a few stories relating to phone security have been hitting the headlines. Vulnerable telephone security is not just the concern of the rich and famous, however, with a spate of East Anglian businesses also falling victim to phone hackers, who have bypassed security systems to clock up hundreds of pounds worth of international and premium call charges on the bills of unsuspecting businesses.
Until recently there has been a rather lax approach to telephone security across businesses and the general public, but headline –making stories have brought the issue into sharp focus. Here are a few simple tips to protect your phone security and reduce the risk to you and you business from potential phone hacking.
1. Mobile phones and many voicemail boxes are protected by a passcode or security password but its vital to change your passcode regularly. Many people never change their passcode from the default setting which is commonly set to 1234 or 0000. Choose a unique number (which is not your date of birth) and change it routinely for added peace of mind.
2. Use your mobile handset’s security lock (PIN) code, ideally set to automatically activate after a few minutes of inactivity, as this will stop thieves being able to use it.
3. Block premium calls and texts from your telephone to minimise the charges that criminals can rack up if they breach your phone security. Network operators let you put a block on calling premium rate 09 numbers or texting premium rate short codes like (88888). So if you don’t call premium 09 numbers or use premium text numbers such as those used for voting in reality TV shows, get them blocked.
4. Monitor your telephone bills regularly and scrutinise unexpected call charges carefully so that you can raise a query quickly with your provider.
5. Keep your mobile phone updated
Make sure your mobile phone’s firmware (operating system) and browser are updated to the latest version and patched with any security upgrades. Check out your handset manufacturer’s website for updates and downloads that could increase your phone’s security.
6. Mobile phone viruses and malware are beginning to appear more regularly as internet-ready phones become widely available. To stay safe, don’t click on unknown links in text messages or emails on your mobile. If you’ve got an iPhone, or other smartphone with full mobile internet access, be especially aware of the risks of opening attachments or clicking on links to potentially malicious websites.
7. Turn off Bluetooth at all times – only activate it when you need to use it. “Blue-jacking”, where people nearby send anonymous messages to other phone users who’ve left Bluetooth switched on, is essentially harmless, but it is an invasion of your privacy and could leave your phone vulnerable to more sophisticated attacks.
Theft of a mobile phone can also leave you wide open to breaches of security, so follow these simple steps to keep your phone safe:
1. Use your common sense and keep your mobile phone out of sight – don’t leave it on display in a vehicle or leave it on the table on public transport for example. 50% of all mobile thefts are from vehicles.
2. Use an ultraviolet (UV) pen to mark both the battery and inside the battery cover of your phone with your postcode. In some areas police forces are offering a “DNA” marking service which makes stolen items very difficult to trade and therefore less attractive to thieves.
3. Notify the police and your network provider if your mobile phone is lost or stolen. Your network can block your phone so that even if the SIM card is changed, it will no longer work in the UK. If you invest in mobile handset insurance and your phone is stolen, make sure you report it within 24 hours as most insurers insist on this as part of the policy terms and conditions.
4. Keep a note of your mobile phone’s unique 15-digit IMEI number. This is usually printed under the phone battery, or can be accessed by keying *#06# into most phones. If your mobile phone is stolen, the IMEI number helps your mobile service provider block the phone.
For further information about phone security contact Comms Consulting via www.comms-consulting.co.uk