Five Smartphone Hacking Protection Tips in Light of News of The World

The News Corp./Rupert Murdoch trial has put the spotlight on phone hacking by News of the World, but should the average consumer worry about their smartphones being hacked?

The immediate answer is “no.” According to a recent Mashable article: “Experts say that it's still fairly easy to hack into your phone, but unless you're a celebrity, you're unlikely to be a target.”

However, the reality is that smartphones are progressively taking on the roles of computers and wallets. Some airlines like US Airways send boarding passes right to customers’ smartphones, if they choose that option. Credit card companies American Express, Discover, MasterCard and VISA recently signed a deal with Isis, a mobile-payments venture from AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile that will allow consumers to purchase items by waving phones over scanners.

As smartphones migrate to include electronic credit cards, thus making them mobile carriers of personal identity information, smart smartphone security practices are of the utmost importance for consumers.

Jeff Paradise, executive director of IdentityHawkSM, a leading online identity protection service, has five key tips for consumers with smartphones starting now.

1. First and foremost, have a password to lock and secure your phone should you lose it. “It has been reported that 54 percent of owners of mobile phones do not password protect them,” noted Paradise.

2. Change passwords frequently to ensure better protection of the secure information accessible via their phones. “We suggest that user change it at least two times per year,” Paradise said.

3. Watch the phone calls and emails you receive asking for personal information. “You do not know who could be a personal hacker,” Paradise noted.

4. Have a backup of all the information on your phone. “If you lose your phone, you will want to be able to retrieve all data,” Paradise added.

5. Leave no phone behind. “While it may seem obvious, lots of people just leave their phones on desks, tables, even at the office – and walk away. But we recommend that you put them in pockets, holsters, or bags to make them less likely to be left behind,” Paradise said.

Paradise concluded, “Since personal identity information is out there - whether people like it or not - on phones, laptops, in the mail - everywhere; identity protection services can be a central monitoring station to manage the total universe of personal identity information from bank accounts to smart phones. If there is an identity breach incident via smartphone hacking or old-fashioned wallet theft - IdentityHawk members will be alerted to changes in their identity activity tracked by our 24/7 Identity Security Scanning.”

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