Tip of the month May 2016 – How to secure your devices

Securing your devices

Most Seafarers and land based staff these days own personal devices such as Smartphones, Tablets and laptops. You may also be lucky enough to have a business supplied device which hopefully is secured already by your I.T department. So this tip is for all those using their own devices on-board for keeping in touch with family and friends but also applies to land based personnel.

I have an Apple Ipad/Iphone so I am immune!

We often hear this statement, but unfortunately it is incorrect. It is true that Apple to date has been more secure than Android due to Android allowing 3rd party app markets.

However in 2015 we already saw a few malware apps appear on IOS/Apple store and we expect to see an increase this year as attackers utilize clever methods to hide malware inside apps.

Amount of data stored on devices

As devices have become part of our daily lives we store more and more information on them;

  • Pictures & Videos
  • Documents
  • Emails
  • Passwords
  • Pin numbers for cards

How upset would you be to loose that data or have it stolen and used against you?

Attacks on devices

The most common threats to date have been malware attacks. These are pieces of malicious code which are downloaded as part of an application or torrent/movie. Once on the device it infects them and then can monitor it for interesting information to the attacker, such as banking logins, emails, documents and forward these to the attacker.

There have also been the cases of famous people phones being hacked and very private pictures/videos posted online.

Some devices can even have their cameras/microphones switched on and monitored remotely.

Steps to defend yourself

So how would you defend yourself against these kinds of attacks? By following the steps below along with common sense you can greatly reduce your risk of your phone being compromised or data stolen.

  • Do not root your Android tablet/phone
  • Do not jail break your Ipad/Iphone
  • Set a password/pin code on the device
  • Turn on the autolock function with a short lock time
  • Disable Bluetooth, NFC and wifi when not in use
  • Check application permissions & reviews of apps before installing
  • Only download applications from the official app stores
  • Install a mobile security app from Sophos, Lookout, Avast, etc
  • Enable remote wiping/locking/tracking of your device
  • Backup you phone data regularly to the cloud/home PC
  • Be careful what you download or browse on open/free wifi
  • If available ensure your device has the latest OS updates installed

Summary

No system or protective measure is completely foolproof, but the steps outlined above will make your device much safer. That way, you can focus on enjoying it.

Tip of the month is brought to you by

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