Five Tips for Protecting Your Mobile Devices:
1. Password-protect your computing devices.
While it sounds obvious, if anyone steals your device they will have to defeat your password to get at your data and accounts, which will significantly slow attackers. Although it is not impossible to defeat password protection on a digital device, it adds a useful layer of protection, buying you time to locate and recover the device.
2. Always backup your files.
Why? Even if you can’t recover a stolen device that does not mean you have to lose all your information and software. Regular backups are the ultimate defense against theft of your files. There are plenty of options for backup these days including online backup. Taking the time to setup backup really pays off if a device is stolen, helping reduce the pain involved in re-creating the sensitive content.
3. Use tracking software to help get your stolen device back.
Why? Getting your stolen device back is not impossible, particularly if the device itself can tell you where it is and you can communicate with it using a sort of “remote control” via SMS or other methods. You may even be able to communicate with the person who has it. (Here’s an example of one piece of anti-theft software for PCs.) However, it is not recommended that you physically confront the thief for safety reasons. Always work with your local law enforcement.
4. Don’t tempt thieves with unattended mobile devices, particularly in public places.
Why? Leaving your computer or mobile device unattended in a car, airport or restaurant is akin to asking for it to be stolen. In a recent survey we found that 1 in 5 stolen devices were taken from a car, 12% from an airport, train, bus, or other public transportation, and 11% from a restaurant or coffee shop. (Here’s an example of anti-theft software for Android devices.)
5. Encrypt sensitive data. Why? Storing sensitive data in encrypted files prevents anyone exploiting your data if your computer is stolen. Note: File encryption is available free on recent version of both the Microsoft Windows and Apple Mac OS X operating systems. This step is a lot easier than it used to be, so the pain level is low these days (unlike in years past).
Bonus tip. Think about removing sensitive data from your device. Why? Your computer may interact with sensitive data but it does not need to store all of it right there in one place. Consider using encrypted removable media for sensitive data and carrying that separate from the computer. Maybe leave sensitive work files on the company network and access remotely over a secure connection. This way, if “bad things” happen, you’ll have much lower likelihood that the bad actors got off with critical information.
I did a test scan on my laptop just to see how accurate it was, and it was dead-on. Just look at the stealthy photo it took of that shady guy wearing sunglasses inside and chewing bubble gum...
Additionally, as we're always on-the-go, social networking is a huge part of our daily lives, and a place where danger still lurks. Since The Rock Father is a site dedicated to families that rock, I feel it good to toss out a reminder that kids under 13 shouldn't have Facebook pages or twitter handles (per their own TOS, no less). Luckily, I'm some years off from having to deal with that temptation, but I know it's coming.
With all the crazy phishing and malware that's out there, we all need to remember that those tempting links that pop up in our newsfeeds can often be a trick, and with that, ESET offers a free service - ESET Social Media Scanner - that can check your profiles for stuff that might be hiding.
A PTPA Winner (that's Parent Tested, Parent Approved), ESET Smart Security 6 offers a full suite of tools for keeping your devices safe. While Anti-Theft and protecting social networks are just two important details, ESET offers full Cybersecurity Training, and their Top Five Tips for Keeping Children Safe Online. Couple this training with the award-winning Anti-virus and Firewall functions, and ESET is a great suite at a reasonable price... and for a limited-time, my readers can save 15% Off using code PTPA.
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