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Essential Mobile Security Tips Cheat Sheet by

tips     mobile     security


If your laptop (or other mobile device you work on) were lost today, what's the worst that could happen? That's the question everyone who works remotely should ask, especially before working on the road or using unprot­ected public networks.

Securing your portable device­s—w­hether they're laptops, netbooks, BlackB­errys, USB memory sticks, etc.—and the data that’s accessed by them from loss and cybercrime may be your most important respon­sib­ility as a mobile worker.

1. Carefully consider what sensitive inform­ation

Care­fully consider what sensitive inform­ation is stored on your laptop­/de­vice.
Make sure any sensitive or confid­ential inform­ation stored on your laptop, cell phone, and other mobile devices really needs to be there. Sensitive data includes propri­etary company or client inform­ation, as well as custom­ers­'—and your own—pe­rso­nally identi­fiable inform­ation (such as credit card numbers, Social Security numbers, or even just names and birthd­ays). Unless you truly need to directly access this info while you're mobile, consider removing the data completely or just remove the sensitive portions of it.

2. Take extra precau­tions to protect

Take extra precau­tions to protect any sensitive data you do need to access.
Storing the data on a server, if possible, and accessing it via secure methods (like VPN) would be safer than storing it locally. If that's not possible, use a program like the open-s­ource and cross-­pla­tform disk encryption tool VeraCrypt to secure all local files and folders you wouldn't want anyone to access in the event of theft or loss.

3. Perform regular, essential mainte­nance.

Backups are like insura­nce­—while you don't want to ever have to need it, you'd be glad to have it in an emergency. So, especially before taking your mobile devices on the road, it's vital to make a backup of your docume­nts—or, better yet, a clone of your entire hard drive—and keep it in a safe, separate location from your main device. Also get the latest security updates and patches for your operating system, browser, firewall, and antivirus programs. These should all be part of your regular comput­er/­device mainte­nance.

4. Protect your passwords and logins.

First, make your passwords are strong enough. The, make sure you're not storing your logins anywhere they could be easily discovered or stolen. For example, turn off your browser's automatic passwo­rd-­rem­emb­ering functions, delete any saved login shortcuts (like cached VPN creden­tials), and shred any passwords you have written down. Instead, you can use password management software to help securely store and remember your username and password combin­ations.

5. Secure your Internet connec­tion.

Connect to networks using the highest level of security available, such as WPA2 for wireless networks. Connecting to unknown, open wireless networks is very risky. If only unsecured networks are available (e.g., at public wireless hotspots), take extra care with these steps:
• Disable the "­aut­oma­tically connect to non-pr­eferred networ­ks" setting to make sure you connect only to approved wireless access points.
• Turn off file and printer sharing.
•Switch off your wireless card when not in use (how to do this will depend on your device; see the manufa­ctu­rer's docume­nta­tion).
•Use only VPN or other encrypted tunnels for business use (these instru­ctions should be provided by your company's IT depart­ment).
•For safer, anonymous Web surfing, consider using a Web proxy or VPNs designed for consumer use. Here are 3 of the best VPN services you can subscribe to.

6. Take steps to prevent the physical theft

Keep an eye on your property when in public, use incons­picuous bags to carry your items (like a backpack holding your laptop in a protective sleeve), and, in general, try not to advertise that you have theft-­worthy devices on hand. Hard-t­o-r­emove imprints or labels applied to cases, cable locks, and other security devices can also thwart would-be thieves.

7. Be proactive about protecting your data now.

If your laptop or other device does get stolen or lost, tracking services and recovery software products, as well as features such as remote wipe for BlackB­errys and other smartp­hones, can help you get it back--but you have to set up the softwa­re/­service first (i.e., before your device disapp­ears).

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