In 2017, over one and a half million pieces of malicious software were found by Kaspersky Lab, targeting mobile phone internet usage. Like computer malware, sinister packages inject themselves into your phone, slowly extracting personal information and behaviors from the device. This exploitation transcends across all computing devices. So, with Trojans lurking just outside the doors of your firewalls, consider what is at stake and why you need to be savvier when it comes to your work phone.
Smartphone usage has been trumping any other device since 2015, with 33% off internet users choosing to browse using their smartphone over laptops or even tablets. The days of extensions on landlines are becoming less and less of an obvious choice in the workplace with many businesses now opting to assign work mobile phones to their employees. This offers relaxed flexibility with the ability to work longer hours and not always in an office environment, but from home and in cafés, too.
How critical are operating system updates on mobile phones?
Your phone is always badgering you about the latest update that you need to do. With a lot of iPhone users suspicious due to Apple's past track records of new iOS updates purposefully slowing down older devices (or simply not having enough space to download the update) and many simply do not bother. The same goes for Android users, with 82% of Android devices having versions on their phone over 2 years old.
Sure, we get it. Updating your phone is a pain. It takes ages, there’s a risk there will be glitches that need their own follow-up updates and you’re never sure whether your phone is finally going to kick the bucket. But they are critical to the overall security of your device. Did you know the likes of Apple and Google hire people just to hack into their devices to seek out flaws in their systems? Prioritise your work phone system updates just as much as you would your own mobile to ensure safety as you roam. Avoid being completely phoneless for that excruciating length of time which definitely isn’t just 5 minutes by updating your work and personal phone at different times.
Is fingerprint recognition safe?
It’s a good idea. If you plan to set up fingerprint recognition on your smartphone, only register one finger or thumb to reduce the chances of someone else being able to hack your phone. Although unique, Nasir Memon of New York University has said it is a lot easier to falsely match with a fraction of the print on multiple fingers. It also goes without saying you should never leave your phone on your desk unlocked, workmates may easily add their own fingerprint to ensure they always have access to your phone.
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Passcodes can offer a safer option. It is ideal that you opt for the longer passcode option rather than four figures, which is an easier sequence to crack quickly. Consider settings like wiping your phone after multiple failed attempts to unlock the device. Especially if you’re dealing with highly important information through your work phone.
How can limiting notifications increase security?
As a work phone, you’ll be receiving a lot of important emails and texts and we appreciate you might always want to remain in the loop. However, decreasing the number of notifications that are pushed to your lock screen is a good idea to ensure nothing confidential or sensitive is right there for anyone to see at the click of a button. Yes, they may not be able to physically access the files to read in full as long as you’ve enabled passcodes and other security passes. But it could be enough to land you in hot water, or for someone’s interest to be piqued enough to try and access your work phone.
Do you always log out of your social media accounts?
Malware isn’t always the biggest danger out there. It seems like an obvious precaution to take, but many leave their profiles ticking over in the background, not thinking about the damage done if your device is physically stolen. It goes without saying you probably shouldn’t be using your work phone to access your personal social accounts. Not least because it is opening you up to your social networks being infiltrated if you’re not careful from yet another device.
However, if you do use it to access those accounts, or you’re in charge of managing the business’ Twitter, Facebook or Instagram profiles, ensure you always log out after. Personal use could also end in severe repercussions, especially if your own accounts are full of less than professional content that doesn’t showcase you in such a great light.
With another device logging your day-to-day, nine-to-five working life, mobile phone usage brings about its own unique dangers. It’s therefore very important to bear in mind how you protect your phone from harm. Ensure you’ve got every possible security option in place, including passcodes, software updates and, perhaps one you’re not considered as much as you should, being conscious of exactly how you’re utilizing your device for work.