Celebrate Data Privacy Day with 5 Tips to Protect Your Phone

In honor of Data Privacy Day, the event organizer offers the public five tips to protect cellphones from hacking.

by / January 28, 2014
The recently established Data Privacy Day celebrated and promoted data protection efforts on Jan. 28 raising awareness in the ongoing debate on data security. StaySafeOnline.org

While many may not be aware, January 28 is Data Privacy Day, a commemorative day established in 2008 in the U.S. and Canada to celebrate and promote the privacy of personal and protected information. Though not exactly a holiday, the day is especially notable this year in light of recent revelations around NSA surveillance activities.

Whatever your stance, it’s indisputable that the protection of private data is a paramount concern in today’s evolving environment of digital backdoors, identity theft, and ever more sophisticated hacking attempts. As such, below are a few tips from Data Privacy Day promoter StaySafeOnline.org to help keep your smartphone from being hacked.

5 Tips to Protect Your Mobile Device

1. 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.

Keep security software current: Having the latest mobile security software, web browser, and operating system are the best defenses against viruses, malware and other online threats.

Protect all devices that connect to the Internet: Computers, smartphones, gaming systems and other web-enabled devices all need protection from viruses and malware.

2. 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 phone: Use a strong passcode to lock your phone.

Think before you app: Review the privacy policy and understand what data (location, access to your social networks) the app can access on your device before you download.

Only give your mobile number out to people you know and trust and never give anyone else's number out without their permission.

Learn how to disable the geotagging feature on your phone.

3. Connect with Care

Use common sense when you connect. If you're online through an unsecured or unprotected network to get online, be cautious about the sites you visit and the information you release.

Get savvy about Wi-Fi hotspots: Limit the type of business you conduct and adjust the security settings on your device to limit who can access your phone.

Protect your money: When banking and shopping, check to be sure the site is security-enabled. Look for web addresses with "https://" or "shttp://," which means the site takes extra measures to help secure your information. "Http://" is not secure.

When in doubt, don't respond: Fradulent texting, calling and voicemails are on the rise. Just  like email, requests for personal information or for immediate action are almost always a scam.

4. Be Web Wise

Stay informed of the latest updates to your device. Know what to do if something goes wrong.

Stay current. Keep pace with new ways to stay safe online: Check trusted websites for the latest information, and share 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, it does not mean that it is safer.

5. Be a Good Online Citizen

It is easy to say things via phone or text message that you would never say face to face. Remind your kids to maintain the same level of courtesy online as they would in the real world.

Safer for me and more secure for all:
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.

Source: StaySafeOnline.org