7 Basic Mobile Security Tips for the Holidays


Ninety percent of smartphone owners will be using their mobile devices for work and personal purposes throughout the holiday season, giving hackers plenty of opportunities to steal personal information and slither their way into enterprise networks.

To help users avoid making the most common and costly mistakes, security software vendor AppRiver this week served up some tips to help mobile users protect themselves and their data this holiday season.

Beware of Wi-Fi hotspot

Almost all smartphones these days are equipped with WiFi functionality, which is good for network traffic and convenient for mobile users looking to check their email or update their Facebook page at the mall.

The downside is that even amateur hackers can easily intercept data packets sent and received via unsecure Wi-Fi hotspots.

As a rule, AppRiver security analyst Troy Gill advises users to never access any password-protected websites – like banks, Facebook, PayPal, etc. – from these unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots, no matter how cheap or convenient they may be.

Browse Wisely

Basically, all the dangers that users have come to know and expect on their PCs and laptops also apply to their smartphones and iPads. Beware of Black Hat SEO scams, don't open unsolicited or unfamiliar apps and use common sense while visiting social media sites.

Avoid High-Risk Apps

There are a lot of applications out there designed for the smartphone that can put users' data at risk because they're tailored for convenience and speed, rather than security.

"These apps can potentially allow other programs access to your valuable personal information," Gill wrote in the security advisory. "While the distribution platforms of these apps do put some effort into inspecting them for security holes, that process (as of now) is feeble at best."

Be Smart About Email

Always make sure the email you send is encrypted and use email spam and virus filtering applications.

Be On High Alert for SMS and Voice Mail Phishing

Expect that you will receive multiple calls or texts asking you "verify" some type of financial information during the holidays. Always call the bank or store directly before giving out your account numbers or social security number.

Lock Down Your Smartphone

Always make sure your smartphone is password protected. If you lose your device, make sure you can either remotely locate or erase the data on your smartphone.

Ounce of Prevention

Install and update mobile security software applications to keep your device safe from the latest malware strains.

Larry Barrett is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.

Follow eSecurityPlanet on Twitter: @eSecurityP.