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Spring Cyber Security Update


Spring Cyber Security Update


Spotlight: Devices

Smartphones and tablets are small devices filled with our sensitive, personal information—making them extremely valuable to thieves. In fact, 3.1 million smartphones were stolen in 2013 in the United States alone. A stolen smartphone or tablet can lead thieves straight into your digital life— especially if you do not have the right safeguards in place. According to the Pew Internet Project’s research, 58% of adults in the US own a smartphone. But a Consumer Report’s study found that only 36% of smartphone owners lock their phone with a 4digit PIN.


Savvy Cybersecurity Principle #1 urges you to set up a passcode on your devices. Doing so should only take you a couple minutes and it can stop a thief from being able to access anything on the stolen phone or tablet. You can set up a passcode by going to “Settings” on your device.

Kill switch

Luckily, smartphone and tablet manufacturers have taken steps to increase security on their devices by creating “kill switches.”

Last year, Apple introduced “Activation Lock.” This program is available on devices running iOs 7 or higher and allows you to remotely lock your device if it is stolen. Activation Lock also requires your Apple ID and password before the device can be erased and reactivated.

Google rolled out a similar program for Android phones with 5.1 Lollipop called Device Protection. This, too, requires your Google password before the phone
can be wiped clean.

Samsung Galaxy users are protected as well. Samsung’s Reactivation Lock prevents thieves from reactivating your device without your special “unlock password.”

These programs stop thieves from being able to erase the data on your phone and sell it as new to others—which has been a main motive of smartphone thieves in the past. You’ll want to make sure you are running the most uptodate software on your devices to take advantage of these programs.

Find your device

In addition, you may want to install “locate my device” apps on your smartphone and tablet. These apps allow you to see where your device is if it is lost or stolen. Apple products come preloaded
with the “Find my iPhone” app which you can access in “Settings.” Samsung devices also have “Find My Mobile” installed. This service can be found by going to “Settings,” “Security,” “Find My Mobile.” Android has its own version, “Android Device Manger” that you will access from a browser. Visit the Android Device Manager page and you’ll be able to activate the program on your device.
All three of these programs allow you to track your phone if it is lost or stolen from an online browser. You can also remotely wipe the devices with these programs. These precautions will take you less than five minutes but will save you hours of dealing with the aftermath of a stolen phone or tablet.

Information in this article was provided by the Savvy Cybersecurity Newsletter by