Securing Mobile Devices – A Simple Solution

Your mobile is at risk! Seriously…

I know that sounds sensational but it is true. Your mobile device and the data on it is potentially a nice juicy target for the criminal fraternity.

Why?

First off, that phone you got “free” with your contract could easily be worth £500 – £600 (call it $1000). Secondly the data on the phone its self is of value to someone, somewhere.

Just think what might be on your phone:

  • Contact information – the emails alone are worth money to email spammers.
  • Application data – do you have confidential documents on your phone?
  • Credentials – account details for your email account at the very least

Any or all of these make your phone worth stealing.

How To Protect Your Device in 1 Simple Step

Uh oh! He’s going to try and sell us something here…

No, I’m not, this is for free. All you need to do is to put a secure pass-code on your device. You notice the word “secure” hiding in there? That’s because most people are not using a secure password.

The default 4 digit numeric code can be broken in as little as 6 minutes (source Fraunhofer Institue) there are plenty of other (to me less credible) stories of pass-codes being broken in as little as 4 seconds!

So, when I say secure, I mean a password that is 6 characters or more long and contains alphabetic, numeric and punctuation characters. I know this makes entering the code harder but if you want to properly secure your device, then you need the extra complexity. For the truly paranoid, you should go to a 13 character alpha / numeric / punctuation password! However, even I’m not prepared to key that in every time.

Just before I sign off: you should be very cynical about alternative phone locking schemes such as voice / face recognition and swipe patterns. The face recognition on my Galaxy SIII recognised my dog (fortunately, she did not manage to access anything important)! As for the swipe patterns: use one for a while then hold the phone up to the light. Your pass pattern will be clearly visible.

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