Are mobile devices immune from cybercrime?

infographic-4-portes-entre-cyberfraudes_en_310.jpgIsabelle Lord | Mouvement Desjardins

Definitely not! Fraudsters are taking a growing interest in mobile devices. We take our devices with us out in public, which contain personal information that can often be accessed via apps that are not secured.

"Devices and users are at risk mainly due to lack of awareness of a few security rules" believes Benoit Guérette, computer security specialist at Desjardins. Here are five of his recommendations to protect your mobile... and your identity!

1. Turn on auto-lock

The greatest threat to mobile devices is loss or theft. In 2013, only 56% of users locked their devices, which makes things easy for the crooks who get their hands on them! Turn on auto-lock after five minutes of inactivity - this is the number one rule. A vigilant user will also pick a complex password, advises Benoit Guérette. "A person with malicious intentions who gets his hands on a locked device will first try and open it using simple passwords, such as 1234, 2580 (straight line) and 1379 (the four corners). All devices allow you to use a complex password - simply find out more from your mobile service provider."

2. Apply software updates

Not only do they help your device function properly, software updates help combat new threats. Why not get peace of mind by setting up your device to do updates automatically!

3. Conduct transactions on secure wireless networks

Paying a bill or filling out a university application form while connected to public Wi-Fi in a coffee shop: "Bad idea! says the expert. It's the preferred hunting ground of pirates who are trying to intercept your information." It's better to use a trusted network that's password protected or the cellular network on your device.

4. Check before downloading apps

Close behind information theft and illegitimate surveillance, malicious applications represent the third threat to mobile users. These apps will try to obtain privileges they don't need, such as accessing your contacts or your photos. "When downloading new apps, use official stores such as the App Store and Google Play and carefully read the comments of other users."

5. Plan for the loss of theft of your device

Before selling or having your device repaired, backup all the contents onto a computer and then delete the contents on the device. The data can be restored when you get it back. Benoit Guérette also stresses the importance of removing the external memory card (on Android), also called an SD card, where applicable. "The contents should also always be encrypted as the device's unlock code won't protect it", he says. If you use these types of cards, find out how to encrypt the contents.

Did you know that identity theft is one of the fastest growing crimes in Canada? Protecting your personal information is our top priority and why we developed a new protection solution for all our members. Find out more about our personal data and identity theft protection measures - This link will open in a new window..

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