Mobile devices, such as smart phones and tablets, are an increasingly common target for cyber criminals. It’s important to use them safely and to take steps to protect those devices and the personal information they may contain.

Keep a clean machine — Mobile devices are computers with software that needs to be kept up-to-date (just like your PC, laptop or tablet). Security protections are built in and updated on a regular basis. Take time to make sure all the mobile devices in your house have the latest protections. This may require synching your device with a computer.

Protect Your Personal Information — Phones can contain tremendous amounts of personal information. Lost or stolen devices can be used to gather information about you and, potentially, others. Protect your phone like you would your computer.

  • Secure your mobile device by locking it behind a strong passcode
  • Review the privacy policy and understanding what data (location, access to your social networks) on your device an app can access before you download it to your device
  • Only give your mobile number out to people you know and trust and never give anyone else’s number out without their permission
  • Only keep geo location, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi features on your mobile devices active when you are using them. Be aware that social networking sites may automatically post your location if you have geo location enabled. Don’t check in with your location if you’re alone.

Connect with care — Use common sense when you connect. If you’re online through an unsecured or unprotected network, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.

  • Get savvy about Wi-Fi by limiting the type of business you conduct when connected to a business or public hotspot. Adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your machine.
  • When banking and shopping, check to be sure the sites is security enabled. Look for web addresses with https://, which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. Sites that display just “http://” are not secure.
  • When in doubt, don’t respond. Fraudulent texting, calling and voicemails are on the rise. Just like email, requests for personal information or to immediate action are almost always a scam.

Be aware of current threats — Stay informed about the latest updates to your device and know what to do if something goes wrong.

  • Check trusted websites for the latest information. Share it with friends, family, and colleagues and encourage them to be web wise.
  • Know how to cell block others. Using caller ID, you can block all incoming calls or block individual names and numbers.
  • Use caution when meeting face-to-face with someone who you only “know” through text messaging. Even though texting is often the next step after online chatting, that does not mean that it is safer.

Be a Good Online Citizen — It is easy to say things from via phone or text that you would never say face to face. Remind your kids to maintain the same level of courtesy on the phone as they would in the real world.

  • What you do online has the potential to affect everyone – at home, at work and around the world. Practicing good online habits benefits the global digital community.
  • Text to others only as you would have them text to you
  • Only give your mobile number out to people you know and trust and never give anyone else’s number out without their permission
  • Get permission before taking pictures or videos of others with your phone. Likewise, let others know they need your permission before taking pictures or videos of you.

Additional mobile device safety and security tips

  • Don’t text and drive – it can kill you or someone else. Don’t text and walk – you can get hurt badly. Pay attention to the world and the people around you.
  • Never send nude or suggestive pictures of yourself or talk or text with strangers about sex using your mobile device. You never know where your pictures or words will end up, or who will see them. The consequences can be devastating.
  • Be aware of the signs of potential compromise of your mobile device including decreased device performance, random functions, or calls, texts or emails to numbers and email addresses you don’t recognize.