5 Ways to Protect Your Mobile Privacy
by Gavin Macomber
May 11, 2016
We live in a world today where identity fraud is rampant, data breaches are the norm and your privacy can be compromised in so many ways, including one that’s perhaps less obvious to most people – your mobile phone.
With over 200 million smartphone users in North America alone, mobile privacy issues are making the news headlines more and more frequently these days as there is so much of your identity linked to your personal mobile number – not just your social security number.
While many people claim to be mobile privacy savvy, according to a recent study from cybersecurity firm Lookout, nearly 60% of smartphone users are not. Clearly, there is a disconnect between people’s awareness of what it means to be privacy conscious and the actions they take in the real world.
The good news is there are a number of precautions you can begin taking right away to prevent your personal information from falling into the wrong hands:
- Don’t give “carte blanche” access. Start password-protecting your mobile device, stop giving “carte blanche” access to all mobile apps and use plenty of discretion when downloading new apps. Unwittingly revealing your personal contact information is one of the most risky mobile privacy behaviors. Time to stop it.
- Use “location sharing” sparingly. If you don’t want to broadcast your location to the whole world (and hackers), turn Location Services off. In fact, you can tailor this functionality to specific apps on both Android and iOS. Besides, you’re just advertising to international thieves that you are not at home.
- Turn on your “Find your Phone” feature. Both iOS and Android have “find my phone” features that enable you to not only locate your smartphone in the event you misplace it, but also to remotely lock your phone or even erase all your data (and personal information) if it’s been stolen.
- Get a 2nd number for your smartphone. Safeguard your personal mobile number itself from falling into the wrong hands and being used for identity theft and other crimes. Simply download an app like Shuffle to setup a 2nd number on your smartphone.
- Start keeping your personal number private. Once you have alternative numbers setup on your smartphone for personal or business use, stop giving out your personal mobile number to random businesses, online shopping sites or people you just met. Don’t post your private mobile number online anywhere, especially on social networks like Facebook and LinkedIn that just about anyone can access.
Gavin Macomber, Mobile Expert & Advisor to Shuffle Ventures, has more than 20 years of product marketing, management and strategy experience building innovative, consumer-focused, mobile products and services for early-stage and mid-size companies. He currently works as an advisor and consultant. Previously, Gavin was VP, Mobile Strategy and Next Generation Products at Vonage, where he was responsible for the launch of Vonage Mobile, the company’s flagship mobile product which achieved in excess of 3 million downloads in its first year.