What Can I Do to Secure My Mobile Device?

The volume of cyber threats to mobile computing devices continues to increase as new applications and devices proliferate. McAfee reports that there were more than two million new mobile malware samples in 2013. Symantec reports that nearly 40% of mobile device users have experienced mobile cyber crime in the past 12 months. Some experts estimate that nearly 10% of applications sold on particular platforms are malicious. Most mobile malware gets installed when a user visits an infected website or downloads a malicious application, or clicks on a link or an attachment.

How can you protect yourself? Here’are some helpful tips for keeping the information on your mobile device safe.

  1. Lock the device
    An easy way for malware to get on a device is for someone to manually install it. Locking your device with a strong PIN/password makes unauthorized installation of applications more difficult.
  2. Install applications from trusted sources
    Users must recognize that some applications may be malicious. If an app is requesting more permissions than seems necessary, do not install it, or uninstall the application. Only install applications from trusted sources.
  3. Don’t jailbreak your device
    To “jailbreak” or to “root” a device means to bypass important controls and gain full access to the operating system. Doing this will usually void the warranty and can create security risks. This also enables applications, including malicious ones, to bypass controls and access the data owned by other apps.
  4. Keep operating systems and apps up-to-date
    Manufacturers, telecommunications providers, and software providers regularly update their software to fix vulnerabilities. Make sure your device’s operating system and apps are regularly updated and running the most recent versions.
  5. Use a mobile security software solution
    Install antivirus software, if available.
  6. Block web ads and/or don’t click on them
    Malware can find it’s way onto your mobile device through a variety of methods, including advertisements. The malicious advertisements are called “malvertisements.” Mobile ads accompany a significant amount of content found in mobile applications. Whether you find them annoying or amusing, cyber criminals have turned their attention toward using them to spread malware to unsuspecting users. What makes these “malvertisements” so dangerous is the fact that they are often delivered through legitimate ad networks and may not appear outright spam, but can contain Trojans or lead to malicious websites when clicked on. Some mobile devices have software that can block harmful sites.
  7. Don’t click suspicious links and attachments
    While it may be difficult to spot some phishing attempts, it’s important to be cautious about all communications you receive, including those purported to be from “trusted entities”. Be careful when clicking on links or attachments contained within those messages.
  8. Disable unwanted services/calling
    Capabilities such as Bluetooth and NFC can provide ease and convenience in using your smartphone. They can also provide an easy way for a nearby, unauthorized user to gain access to your data. Turn these features off when they are not required.
  9. Don’t use public Wi-Fi
    Many smartphone users use free Wi-Fi hotspots to access data (and keep their phone plan costs down). Smartphones are susceptible to malware and hacking when leveraging unsecured public networks. To be safe, avoid logging into accounts, especially financial accounts, when using public wireless networks.

Are Podcasts the New Encyclopedia?

I have recently given in to the powerful machine that is Apple’s ITunes. I got an ITunes card for Christmas and thought what the heck I will go download that new Rhianna song I like. I’m really out of touch with music these days, I listen to talk radio, so it was almost hard to use the entire card and I ended up downloading a lot of songs that I liked from years ago. I was searching the store and I clicked on the podcasts link. I had heard of podcasts, I had just never downloaded one. I delighted when I found a plethora of information, entertainment, and news all for free! I barely remember how to use a card catalogue; I’m not sure where in the library where the encyclopedias are, but with this new resource my curiosity cup has been filled!! In about two minutes I can download opinions and resources on anything my little heart could desire. Last night I tried the business category. I listened to a couple of shows about money management and got a little more information about what our economy is going thru. I really like this method of delivery because it is more thought out than the evening news and there is not that implied drama to keep people tuned in. After that I decided to search for a subject that there couldn’t possibly be a blog on, knitting. Not only is there one blog about something that would be really hard to learn by listening but there are more than I could browse! I downloaded a few and am looking forward to listening to them tonight to see what talking heads could possibly have to say about my beloved hobby. Podcasts are much like websites; anyone can do them so it’s best not to take everything to heart. People can bestow expert titles on themselves and as far as I know there are no podcast police to stop them. So listen, enjoy, and if you want cold hard facts find the encyclopedia section at the library!!

Protecting Your Money

There are lots of people out there making a living off of tricking an honest consumer out of their money. Yet there are simple tips and precautions that can protect you. After all criminals look for the easy scam, if they were into hard work they would probably have real jobs!

 

Tip #1

Do not leave your wallet or purse in plain sight in an unattended vehicle. It takes less than a minute for a passing thief to break your window and snatch anything they want. 

 

Tip#2

Never write your PIN on your debit or credit cards or have them written down close to where you keep your cards. 

 

Tip #3

Buying products or services on-line must be done with care. Using reputable sites that have been around awhile is always encouraged. Sometimes when you authorize them to charge your card you are unknowingly signing up for a service as well. They might charge your card every month for a monthly e-newsletter or some other nonsense.

 

Tip #4

This is more a fact than a tip. Lately there has been an e-mail rumor going around saying if you are held up at the ATM and you put in your pin backwards the ATM will signal the police. THIS IS NOT TRUE! In fact most debit and credit cards have the option where the user can pick their own pin number. In that case if you pick 5555 as your pin there is no way the ATM could decipher what is forwards and what is backwards. 

Thanks to Sherol Rumbagh for sharing these tips!  

Online Bill Pay, One Stop Bill Payment

When I ask customers if they would like to try online bill pay some say they already pay their bills online, but they go through their providers’ websites. “Same thing right?”

Well not quite!  You are paying your bills online, but you are doing it the hard way.  Online bill pay from a bank gives you one stop shop to pay all your bills at the same time, instead of going to numerous websites to pay each bill individually. You enter in the name of the payee you want to pay, how much, and when.  Just log in and take care of everything all at once.

You can process payments online to anyone, even if they do not have their own online payment system set up. The payments are processed on whatever day you choose.  Some larger companies accept payments electronically aka ACH (Automated Clearing House) while others still require a check to be mailed.  Either way this is a fast, convenient way to pay your bills. Anyone with a mailbox can get a payment from online bill pay!

At Central National Bank you can test drive bill pay for up to six months to see if you like the convenience. So forget the stamps, envelopes, and going to several websites to pay your bills!