What You Need to Know About Mobile Security


Summer 2013 — Security News and Advice

For many of us, mobile devices have become our Rolodexes, personal assistants and closest confidantes, all rolled into one. We use our devices for so many activities, the information they hold and have access to is invaluable, yet 36% of users don’t even lock their devices with a simple PIN or password.

And not taking mobile security seriously can leave you vulnerable. While we continue to bank, shop, socialize and store personal and professional information on our devices, cybercriminals have taken note and have ramped up their attacks. In fact, of the nearly 37,000 mobile malware samples McAfee collected last year, 95% were created in the previous 12 months , underscoring how rapidly mobile threats are growing.

Malicious applications have become one main avenue of attack, but users also need to worry about traditional computer threats, such as clicking on dangerous links in emails or text messages, and risky downloads.

Making matters worse, you are 15 times more likely to use to lose a mobile phone than a laptop. This is especially bad news for the 51% of users who said they would rather lose their wallet than their mobile phones!

If your device is lost or stolen, you could fall prey to identity theft, financial fraud and loss of privacy. Not only could a thief potentially access your online accounts—especially if you set your accounts to automatically login—they can also rack up charges on your device, and access saved passwords and other sensitive information.

While these threats may sound daunting, the good news is you can protect your information and your device by taking a few simple precautions, just as you would on your computer.

To keep your smartphone and tablet safe you should:

  • Avoid clicking on links in text messages or emails, since these links may lead to malicious websites or downloads
  • Don't save website login information on your mobile device, especially to online banking or e-commerce sites
  • Make sure to have a passcode on your device and set it to auto-lock after a certain period of time
  • Before downloading any app, check other users’ reviews to see if it is safe, and read the app’s privacy policy to make sure that it is not sharing your personal information
  • Carefully review your mobile phone bills for any anomalies
  • Use comprehensive mobile security that includes anti-theft, antivirus and web protection like McAfee Mobile Security or McAfee All Access

While mobile threats will continue to evolve, if you do your part by staying aware and putting the right safeguards in place, you can stay one step ahead of the bad guys.

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