Digital Creep

Swati is a Information security consultant for one of the major financial firms in the country .She holds a engineering degree in Information Technology and has her information security credentials from Stanford and ISC2 . She enjoys reading , cooking, blogging and is hopes one day she can turn into a genie to do it all.

CreepIn the last few days this holiday season, our national dailies are filled with articles about gun laws and the horrific shooting incidents in the past. We are appalled at such reckless and insecurity, what we forget is that there are digital creeps lurking near us everywhere who can harm us. Did you know that your Smartphone could potentially give all your financial and personal information to the guy sitting next to you at the coffee shop or the driver in the car behind you at the gas station?

It is a great device to take pictures and connect with friends and family but it is also the backdoor you leave open for digital creeps to enter your life and potentially harm your loved ones.

Here are 5 steps you could do in less than 5 minutes that will make you feel more secure.

#5: Screen Lock Your Phone

If you leave your Smartphone unattended for a while — or worse, if it’s lost or stolen (more on that later) — you don’t want to make it easy for a passerby to rifle through its contents. Setting your Smartphone to require a PIN code or password for access after an inactive period is a relatively easy way to thwart this kind of opportunistic unauthorized access.

Trivia:

AVG’s survey indicates that fewer than half of Smartphone owners use this kind of lock on their phones.

How:

  • Android:

Go to Settings > Location & security > Set up screen lock. The timeout delay is configured separately, under Settings > Display. Android also offers a connect-the-dots swipe pattern you can use in lieu of a PIN or password, but it might leave telltale smudges on your screen.

  • BlackBerry:

Go to Options > Security Options > General Settings >Password

  • iPhone:

Go to Settings > General > Passcode lock

#4: Don’t be a sitting duck

You might have your Bluetooth discovery mode turned on at all times (sometimes it’s on by default). Disable discovery when you’re not trying to pair a device. Failure to do so will continuously advertise your phone’s existence to other Bluetooth-equipped devices nearby ( 30 feet), which can result in unauthorized connection to the phone.

Trivia:

AVG’s survey indicates , a paltry 10 percent of Smartphone owners turn off their mobile device’s Bluetooth discovery feature when it’s not in use.

How:

  • Android:

Go to Settings > Wireless and networks > Bluetooth settings > Discoverable, and make sure it’s not checked.

  • BlackBerry:

Go to Options > Bluetooth, then click the BlackBerry logo (Menu) button. Choose Options, set Discoverable to No, press the BlackBerry logo button again, and then choose Save.

  • iPhone:

You can’t explicitly turn off the Bluetooth discovery, but the iPhone is only discoverable when you’re on the Bluetooth settings page – Settings >General > Bluetooth.

#3: Hiding in the alley: Social network Hog

Don’t use social networks, i.e. Facebook or Twitter, to broadcast that you are going on vacation or that you are home alone. Turn that locations setting off in facebook not everybody has to know where you went and when you are out of the house.

Trivia:

In 2007 when four US Army helicopters were destroyed in Iraq after geotagged photos were posted on the Internet.

How:

  • Android:

Go to Settings > Location and Security >GPS> make sure it’s not checked.

  • BlackBerry:

Go to Options > Advanced options >GPS> press Menu key, Select Disable GPS and select Yes to confirm. This will disable all GPS capabilities on the phone.

  • iPhone

Settings >General > Location services>Disable it.

# 2:If lost:

Smartphones are easy to misplace and Make a record of your Electronic Serial Number (ESN) and/or your International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. If your phone is lost or stolen, report it to your local police station and your network operator immediately.

Trivia:

It is estimated that approximately 37 million cell phones (including Smartphones) are lost in the U.S. alone each year.

How:

You can find out your IMEI number by pressing *#06# on your mobile phone’s keypad, it will display a 15 digit number – that is your IMEI number.

#1: Apply System Updates

From time-to-time, your Smartphone OS vendor, hardware manufacturer or mobile carrier will make system updates available for your device.

Trivia:

These updates are usually promoted as providing new feature x or y that you may or may not be interested in, they typically carry security-related improvements as well.

How :

  • Android:

Go to Settings > About phone > System updates. If one is available, you’ll have the opportunity to download it OTA (over-the-air).

  • BlackBerry:

Connect your device to your computer , then visit the BlackBerry Update page and click on the Check for Updates button.

  • iPhone:

Connect to your computer and run iTunes, which will notify you whether an update is available.

 

You will not invincible but definitely more secure. Protect yourself from those hackers or petty pranksters .

 

Happy Holidays!!

Headshot-SwatiHanda

Cheers,

Swati

@swatihanda

www.swatihanda.com

Resources:

http://www.staysafeonline.org/ncec/resources/

http://icanstalku.com/

6 thoughts on “Digital Creep

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s