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What Are My Risks With My Mobile Device?

If you understand what mobile criminals are trying to do, you can fight back.

The primary risks you should worry about are:

  • Financial fraud: Someone takes over your bank account, extracts money, or sets up a premium SMS scam where you pay for messages you don’t want. They use information such as bank account numbers, passwords, answers to security questions and mobile phone numbers to gain entry.
  • Identity theft: By having information about you, someone can pretend to be you and sign up for credit, identity papers, club memberships—even buy a car. It can take years to recover your good name.
  • Privacy loss: Someone gets information about you that you don’t want out there, including social network activities, GPS location, searches, texts, instant messages, downloads and app usage. This information could be just embarrassing—or it could cost you a friendship, a job, your credit rating or a chance for college.
  • Losing your device: In addition to having to buy a new device (unsubsidized by the operator), you can give a thief the information needed for the fraud, identity theft and privacy loss mentioned above.

To protect your phone, never click on links in texts or emails, since these links may actually point toward malicious downloads.

Keep your phone with you, don’t let it out of your sight and don’t share it with others. Make sure your phone requires a password, as this makes it more difficult to install spyware.

If your phone is behaving oddly or you have some other reason to suspect that it contains spyware, reinstall the phone’s operating system. Consult your user manual or call your carrier’s customer service number for step-by-step help with this process.

Protect your device with lost/locate/wipe software and make sure you have antivirus too. With all the risks associated with mobile security, the worst thing you can do is nothing.

Read more posts by Robert Siciliano, Online Security Expert to McAfee and blogger for JenningsWire.

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