Smartphone security: are you at risk?

September 4, 2015 Off By Laura TMOT
I was recently surfing the internet when I came across an old article about the security of smartphones.  Having a smartphone has become such second nature for me, that I don’t even want to think about a world without one.

The article explained how a woman had left her iPhone behind at her local coffee shop, however, she was incredibly relieved to find that when she went back to pick it up an hour later, some good Samaritan (or so she thought!) had handed it in to the staff behind the counter. However, within a few days she started noticing strange email receipts in her inbox, and found that she had some extra transactions appearing on her banking statement. Confused, she started examining her accounts and sure enough, someone had accessed her information.

She quickly called her bank, and they passed her on to their fraud protection team. These guys found loads of strange transactions on her debit card and credit cards, and also evidence that someone had logged into her online banking app and attempted to transfer money to an offshore account. They told her to check her credit score as soon as possible to ensure that nothing else had happened.

The women was horrified, and her story helped me to realise that we are all just a few moments and a misplaced phone away from financial and/ or personal ruin. I took a quick assessment of all of the vital information that I keep on my phone, and came up with this list:
·         Access to my facebook account – This may not seem like a big deal, but a fraudster could contact your friends and family pretending to be you and potentially fleece them for money before you ever even find out.
·         My banking app – Within seconds, a thief could log into my online banking app and transfer money out of my account. They could also glean my account numbers and regular payees list.
·         My home address – My home address, phone number and workplace details are all on my smartphone, meaning a thief could easily break into my home.
·         Photos of my children – My phone is loaded with tons of family pictures, including photos of my children.
·         My email account – In my email account, a hacker could access pretty much everything about me from my upcoming travel plans to my personal communications.
  
I don’t know about you, but the idea of a stranger having access to any of this information creeps me out. My family is simply worth too much to me to gamble with their safety on something as silly as an unlocked smartphone. My top tip? Make sure that you only have information on your smartphone that you are willing to have out in public, and regularly log out of apps that contain sensitive information, such as Facebook, banking apps and email. If you want to be utterly sure that your smartphone hasn’t been breached in the past, apply for your credit score here.

I am also going to put a security code on to my phone so only I can access it!

How easy is it to access your smartphone?