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Can’t live without your cell phone? Here’s how to keep your information safe

36918488 - african american woman talking on a mobile phone - black peopleDid you know that cybersecurity is everybody’s business — not just companies and those they employ? Researchers into cybersecurity have found that many individuals do not take necessary security steps because they do not consider the payoff worth the burden.

But Amy Foulks, Chief Information Officer for First Utah Bank, wants to spread the word that being cyber safe is not as hard as it seems. There are simple steps everyone can take to put a virtual wall between their information and the bad guys who want it. In a recent blog, we covered how to use strong passcodes, securely use email and work with online financial accounts. This time, Amy offers tips to keep your smart phone or mobile device secure, and how to be cyber savvy while traveling or out and about around town.

Mobile devices and their apps

  • Enable remote wipe capabilities before you lose your phone. If you have an Android, use Google Find My Device. If you have an Apple, use Find my iPhone.
  • Inventory what’s on your phone, back up critical data and do not store unencrypted information, especially passwords.
  • Recognize that children are a big security threat. Monitoring the games children are downloading and playing on your device is crucial. Some Java-based games such as Minecraft will offer in-game modifications and enhancements that can be downloaded for free. Often, these come from unofficial, and potentially dangerous, websites and can contain malicious software or viruses.
  • Only download apps from Google Play or the Apple Store. Never download from a link or browser.
  • Keep apps up-to-date, and be wary of downloading new apps that have few downloads or reviews.
  • Only allow apps to access the data on your phone such as location, contacts and pictures if it’s absolutely necessary for the app to function properly.
  • Never save login credentials to your device.
  • Do not jailbreak your Apple device or root your Android. These are ways of “freeing” your phone, but they can open the door to fraudsters.

Wifi, Bluetooth and Travel

  • Do not set your device to automatically detect and connect to the strongest WiFi signal. Hackers can gain access to your device contents through malicious WiFi networks.
  • Before making an online purchase or transmitting personal data through your phone or other device on a public WiFi network, wait until you are connected to a trusted network rather than a hotel room or coffee shop.
  • Consider setting up a personal VPN or create a hotspot using your Smartphone.
  • If possible, disable automatic connection to Bluetooth.
  • Use only your own device chargers. Public device charging stations or borrowed chargers should not be trusted.
  • Do not use public data networks or plug your computer into a network outlet in a hotel room or other public space.
  • Never use the free hotel WiFi network, especially when you are traveling internationally.
  • Do not throw away your boarding pass or luggage tags. The scan codes may contain sensitive information such as your date of birth, password number or travel history. Treat these as sensitive documents and dispose of accordingly, such as a trusted document destruction service.

At First Utah Bank, we strive to help our customers keep their information — and their accounts — private. Here are some best practice recommendations for your online banking. You also might find the National Cyber Security Alliance to be helpful.