How many of you at one point said to yourselves that you don’t need a smartphone?  “I don’t need all of those apps and gadgets, a regular phone is fine for me.”  That was until you finally decided to take the leap and get one, and now you cannot live without it.  You cannot even leave the house without it, admit it!  I know for me personally when I am heading out the door my internal checklist starts with keys then phone, then other stuff like my wallet, etc. Your phone now acts as a camera, a link to your office, a game portal, a social media outlet, oh yea and you can call people from it.  Even the most amateur of users is taking advantage of some of the more complex features.  If you have to pay for the data plan, as you do with most carriers, why not use the device to its capacity.

One of the more controversial uses of the phone is around completing transactions with it, whether it is an online purchase or checking your bank balance.  Is the security really up to par as it is on your home computer?  According to an article on this is a common concern for smartphone users.  The article states that while this can be a threat, there is not a high risk, not yet anyway.  Mobile technology as it stands today has too many channels and barriers for attacks to occur.  Of course as this technology matures scammers will find ways to master and overcome the barriers seen today.  Apple’s iOS is less vulnerable as malware is not an issue for it, whereas Android is much more susceptible.  The article mentions though that even at this vulnerable state the following statistics were logged: “In the first quarter of 2012, virus-protection company McAfee tracked nearly 7,000 types of Android malware threats (not bank specific), vs. 83 million targeted at PCs.”
Based on this information here are a few tips to help protect your device from possible attacks:

1.       Password protect your device.  If your device does not come with this feature built in there are several apps that are free or very inexpensive.  In fact, I use one called Seal for Android.  You can add all kinds of different apps and password protect them all.  It even has a feature that you can activate that will not allow the intruder to uninstall the app to override the feature. An added tip though, don’t forget your password!

2.       When doing mobile banking, use an app specific to your bank as opposed to through a web portal.  The app will have higher security measures and generally is safer.

3.       Have an app or the ability to remote wipe the device.  If your device is stolen you should wipe the phone as soon as possible to avoid loss of private information. 
Unfortunately in this day and age nothing is sacred. And unless you keep your cash in your mattress it is likely that you are using some type of banking system.  Convenience and technology allow us the ability to perform many mundane tasks from the comfort of our own homes, so it is best to be smart about it.
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Jennifer Ulrich

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  1. Just ordered an iphone. Thanks for timely blog!

  2. thank you!!! I'm passing this on to you know who - so I can hopefully have one of my own- espically since he took the text and photo option off my present one. The McAfee stats very interesting!!!!