The average American checks their smartphone 96 times a day. In our digital world, we rely on our phones for pretty much everything, but how much do you know about smartphone threats? If you have a smartphone, I’m willing to bet you keep tons of private data and info on your device, and you want to keep it secure. As a cybersecurity expert and the founder of ReachOut Technology, these are the top smartphone security mistakes you should avoid.
Not Using Encrypted Email
Between the growing threats of email hacking and government surveillance, people are growing more concerned about the privacy of their inboxes, and the use of encrypted email is on the rise. Still, only 50% of emails are encrypted in transit, and client-side email encryption is rarer still. From a security perspective, email on its own is not encrypted unless you have a solution in place. Anything you send over email can easily be sniffed out over free Wi-Fi.
“Never send anything confidential over plain email; it’s not a good move. If you are using a Gmail email address for business, everything you send is scanned for target advertising. Paying the extra money for G Suite is a smart move because they respect your privacy more; it is all laid out in the terms and conditions.”
Remember, there is always a price to free. I also believe in paying for your domain when you are doing business over email. A registered domain name will make you appear more respectable and official when doing business and keeps your confidential information secure.
Not Using a VPN
To some, free Wi-Fi seems convenient, and many businesses offer it these days. But of course, there is a tradeoff. When you connect to the free Wi-Fi while picking up your morning coffee, anyone can access your information through the connection because it’s a public server. I have always recommended AT&T as the phone service everyone should use. AT&T is the only provider that gives out private Wi-Fi to every person using their accounts. This type of service is critical, especially now with how much technology and access everyone has at their disposal.
If you were to head into Starbucks and connect to their public Wi-Fi, people could access all your information through your connection because it’s public. But AT&T creates a virtual private network (VPN) connection that encrypts your connection even though you’re still connected to public Wi-Fi. This ensures your information stays private. No one will be able to access your computer, phone, or tablet to grab sensitive information, such as bank account numbers, Social Security numbers, and much more.
Who loves the new Facebook and Instagram live? It seems like everyone is using it these days! The problem with showing the world where you are on live video is now everyone knows where you are at that exact moment. You don’t want people to know when you’re out and about that you are not home because you’re making yourself vulnerable to robbery or other threats.
Additionally, in 2019 a new security issue was discovered by the parent company Facebook that shows the vulnerability of Instagram’s system, exposing the contact and account details of the user to the potential threat. This vulnerability was so severe that it could allow a hacker to access the user’s account information, including their contact number. A data researcher discovered this, and Facebook assured that they resolved the issue.
There was never any report of the data being used, which means that the discovery was most likely made before anyone could bypass the protection shields of Instagram. Luckily the researcher caught this vulnerability early before any breach took place. To keep yourself protected while using social media, make sure you enable two-factor authentication and check log-in activity frequently.
Non-encrypted Text Messaging
The majority of the time, security is a people problem, not a technology problem. The majority of breaches are brought on by an uneducated employee making a security mistake that could have been avoided if they had been trained properly. It’s common for some employees to share their credentials with a fellow employee or manager when they are out of the office, whether on vacation or during a leave of absence.
If organizations don’t have defined security policies for these situations, a lack of accountability could compromise email security.
Your employees are your first line of defense. Equip them with security awareness training so they can identify phishing emails and protect their passwords. I suggest partnering with an IT company that will put advanced security defenses in place, point out system vulnerabilities, and correct them before a breach occurs.
Get Serious About Security
At ReachOut Technology, we address all of these threats and more. At ReachOut Technology, we have a unique blend of cyber, physical, and psychological security aspects in our cybersecurity training program. We put all these aspects together to strategize and predict criminals’ moves to prevent breaches from happening. Security is not just throwing anti-virus on something anymore. It is about the psychology and strategy behind how the criminals think so that you are two moves ahead. If you’re ready to take cybersecurity seriously, contact ReachOut Technology and speak to one of our cyber experts today.
And I should also tell you that we’ree actively acquiring MSPs companies to help make them stronger and create a safer, more seemless online environment. If you know of an MSP looking for capital or to exit – share this blog with them!