Mobile phones are an integral part of our daily lives and it is easy to forget how much personal information we store on our mobile phones. Think of what you would lose if your phone was lost or stolen today – bank details, pay, emails, work, appointments, photos, games and apps.
These quick 10 steps from ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) improve your phone privacy and security.
1. Know where your phone is. Think of your mobile phone like wallets – they contain valuable information which can be costly in time and money to replace.
2. Turn on your security features. ALL mobile phones have security settings – so find out what they are and turn them on. Security settings are usually found under general settings on the main menu.
3. Set a password or pin. To restrict access to your phone set a password, pin, fingerprint or retinal scan to unlock the phone. Find one that works for you and make sure that you use it.
4. Report your lost or stolen phone. Do you know your IMEI(International Mobile Equipment Identity) number? This number is unique to your phone and should be recorded somewhere safe.
5. Turn off Bluetooth and GPS when you are not using them. Both Bluetooth and GPS reduce the battery life of your phone but they can also sometimes allow others to see the location of your phone. Bluetooth can also be used to transmit viruses and intercept data.
6.Think before you click. Be careful when opening multimedia message (MMS), email attachments or clicking on links in emails or text messages. Only open links and attachments if you are expecting them or if they are from a trusted source.
7. Check regularly for software updates. Install any software updates for your phone as soon as they are available. Updates will often address security vulnerabilities that have been detected. It is also recommended that you back up the data on your phone in case anything is lost.
8. Be careful of the wireless (Wi-Fi) networks. Use caution using public wireless networks and it is recommended that sensitive transactions such as banking only be conducted on a secure network. Set your phone to ask you before automatically connecting to a new Wi-Fi network.
9. Don't save passwords or PINs as contacts within your phone. Whilst it may seem a secure way to record PINs and passwords using fake contacts to store this information it is surprisingly easy to figure out.
10. Permanently delete all data from your phone when you throw it away. Prior to giving or throwing your phone away, selling it, recycling it or returning a faulty phone you need to ensure that your phone is fully wiped. Follow the manufacturers instructions make sure you remove your SIM card as well as any memory cards you may have inserted into your phone.
Further information is available from the ACMA website.
If you have information for police, contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using the online form 24hrs per day.
You can report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers, a registered charity and community volunteer organisation, by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24hrs per day.