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Top 3 Steps to Ensure Smartphone Safety

If you own a smartphone, chances are there is quite a bit of information on there you wouldn't want to get into the wrong hands.  Have an e-mail account on there?  How about contacts and passwords/logins in there somewhere?  Add on top of that calendar info, to-do lists, browsing history, Facebook, Twitter, photos, banking apps, Groupons... needless to say, your phone is likely full of info you want to keep secure.

But is your smartphone actually safe?

We at Geek have noticed that many smartphone users haven't taken the 3 most basic steps to provide the most fundamental security precautions which every user should have in place.  Do you have the 3 basics accounted for?

1. Put a lock on it

I know, I know.  Having to enter in a PIN number/pattern lock every time you want to access your phone can be a little annoying.  However, think about your phone as a diary... but with slightly more important stuff (not that we judge your hypothetical diary writings).  Leaving that kind of private information out and about without a lock on it is an easy invitation for not only an invasion of privacy, but all sorts of fraudulent activities.  Without a lock, its just one simple swipe away from having a very big headache.

Text passwords and 5-7 character PINs are your best bet.  Face unlocking and 4 digit PINs are far better than nothing, but know that these are easily prone to "Smudge Attacks".

 2. Back, Back, Back it Up... and then Wipe It

Back. Up. Your. Phone. 
If your information is going to be taken, its really good to have that information stored in a second place.

If you haven't done it yet, now is the time. 
Here is our 5-Minute Step by Step Guide to Backing up your Devices

...you've done it, right?
Seriously. We'll wait.

...now that's done, here's part 2 of why you want to have your info backed up.  If your smartphone is jeopardized, you want to be able to wipe your phone clean remotely without any second thoughts.  Our favorite app for the job is Lookout (which can also locate your device if its lost, add security measures to protect it from cybercrime, and back-up your info in one step).

Here's a tip - Lookout.com requires a premium (read: paid) account to wipe your phone remotely, but, you can become a premium member at any time, including the moment you realize you've lost your phone.  Acchhaaa.

3.  Be Wary of Unsecured Wi-Fi

While we all know using wi-fi is better for your data plan, be careful about using unsecured connections - they are a hotbed for cyberthieves (if you're curious, here's an article from Lifehacker on how simple it can be for them to snipe your info). 

You can still use those connections, but we suggest saving activities like banking, for example, for either a) a secured wi-fi location, or b) your cellular network (3G, 4G, etc) - seriously, its safer than an unsecured connection.

How did you do? 
Are you good on all 3 counts?

If not, better to tackle it now than later.  Leave a comment or send us an e-mail if you have any questions, and we'll help secure your information.

Jason Finn

Founder & Chief Geek

Jason has nearly 20 years of consulting experience, predominantly in the technology space. Most recently he was the COO and Director of Technology for Rich Casto & Company, a national training and consulting organization in the real estate industry.
As a consultant for IBM, PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Envision Consulting Group (now IMS Health), Jason has served clients of all sizes, including Big Pharma, Fortune 500, and Global 1000 companies:

  • Allstate Insurance Company
  • AOL (America Online)
  • Astellas Pharmaceuticals
  • Eli Lilly and Company
  • Ford Motor Credit
  • Wockhardt USA (formerly Morton Grove Pharmaceuticals)
  • Norwich Union
  • PNC Bank
  • Reynolds and Reynolds

Sarunas Budrikas

Creative Director

Sarunas is a web design and development expert with hundreds of successful projects in his portfolio. He is passionate about delivering extraordinary user experiences for every client and consistently goes above and beyond everyone’s expectations. As an SEO expert and strategist, he can optimize your website, or app, to get the most out of it, day in and day out. Sarunas holds a degree in Electrical Engineering from Kaunas Technology University, in Lithuania. Sarunas now lives in Chicago, and calls it home.

Alexandra Olsavsky

Client Experience Specialist

Alex specializes in content generation and social media promotion for Geek | Chicago clients, helping to solidify their presence in the online community. This includes blog writing, graphic design, co-ordination and design of weekly newsletters, and active engagement on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Outside of Geek, Alex is a classically-trained soprano who professionally performs around the city of Chicago (most recently with the Chicago Baroque Band, and with the Rolling Stones for their "50 and Counting" tour).