Let’s be Smart with our Smartphones – Ways to make it harder for Cyber Fraud.

This week is National Cyber Security Week in Australia and Paypal surveyed 12 million Australian smartphone users who use their phone to browse and shop to see how secure they were being with their smartpohones The results are shocking!  Many Australians have not even set up the very basic security measures for their smartphone.

•    Less than half (49%) of Australians do not have a passcode on their mobile device to enter the home screen

•    Only 30 per cent remotely wiped their data after losing their smartphone and less than half (43%) changed their online passwords, and

•    One in three (36%) stay logged into mobile applications such as financial apps.

The research  was conducted by Pure Profile for PayPal, and revealed that, despite an increasing number of Australians using their smartphones to perform the same functions as their computers and wallets, very few take the same precautions to protect their information on their mobiles.

Due to these concerning findings, PayPal and the Centre for Internet Safety at the University of Canberra (CIS) has called for Australians to treat their smartphones as they would their personal computers and wallets.

Prashanth Ranganathan, PayPal’s director of mobile security and risk, said there was a need for consumer education as mobile transactions becomes the norm, and as consumers increasingly use their smartphones to store a substantial amount of personal data, from bank statements to calendars to social networking profiles.

He goes on to state, “Australia is among one of the largest mobile markets in terms of smartphone penetration. Australian consumers are increasingly using their smartphones to shop and pay while on the go but are unaware of the size of the digital footprint stored in their smartphones. By transacting through PayPal, consumers are provisioned with an additional layer of protection by ensuring their personal financial information is never stored on the physical device and never shared with businesses they are transacting with.”

According to Alastair MacGibbon, director at CIS, with over 12 million Australian smartphone users expected in 2012, criminals are now targeting mobile users. He adds,  “Australians must stay alert and ensure they protect themselves across all their devices. As the technology evolves and more Australians use their smartphone devices to fulfill a wider range of functions, consumers need to keep an eye out for fraudulent encounters and be educated about ways to safeguard their smartphones from cybercrime.”

Here are some useful tips to secure your privacy on your smartphone developed by PayPal and CIS:

•    Set up your first line of defence – Enable a unique passcode so that your smartphone automatically locks when you’re not using it

•    Know who you’re transacting with – Use reputable mobile sites and applications. Look out for trust cues like the padlock symbol before entering your financial information

•    Watch out for duplicate applications – Cyber criminals take advantage of trusted brands by creating free applications that mimic the company’s official application. If you’re unsure, always download the application directly from the company’s website

•    Know how you’re connected – Use a secure network to transact online and watch out for people looking over your shoulder while using free Wi-Fi networks

•    Keep track of what you’re sharing – Be aware of the permissions your applications request from you. Review permission requests carefully and only share information that you are comfortable sharing

•    Don’t store sensitive data on your device – never store sensitive financial data on your smartphone

And, if your smartphone is lost, stolen or misplaced, remember to:

•    Remotely wipe your data – Enable this feature at purchase so that you can use it to your benefit if you lose your device

•    Immediately change your passwords – Change your online passwords for the mobile apps and websites that you automatically sign into, such as email, calendars, social networking sites, app stores, messengers, video sites

•    Get help – Contact your provider or manufacturer and enquire about mobile tracking or whether they can disable your phone on your behalf

Don’t be one of the many individuals who are taken advantage of because they do not think to implement some of these basic tips. Let’s be smart with our smartphones.

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