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As the features and conveniences of mobile phones have grown, so have the risks of using them. The more you and your employees use your mobile phones to check email, make purchases, access bank accounts, download music, etc., the more tempting your phone becomes to hackers.

Unfortunately, the ingenious technology that makes it possible to use and enjoy the many features of mobile phones is the same technology that makes those phones vulnerable — Bluetooth®.

Bluetooth makes it easier for you to talk on your phone while driving, use wireless headsets, and even sync your phone to your computer. But, while you are using Bluetooth, you’re allowing hackers easier access to your phone and the information it contains. In general, mobile phones comprise about 60% of overall Bluetooth technology usage.

Hacks can include the following:

  • Phishing and Malware — Your phone is vulnerable to the same things that threaten your computer, such as phishing and malware. You set up your phone to automatically log into social media and other sites. But it’s important that, when you’re accessing your most important sites, such as your bank, you do not set up an automatic login, but set it up to require you to type in your name and password each time you log into that site. This will better protect you from phishing and malware.
  • Bluejacking — If you are using your phone in a public area, hackers can use Bluetooth’s Business Card feature to send unsolicited messages to all the discoverable devices within that area. To protect yourself from Bluejacking, be sure to put your phone in the “invisible” or “non-discoverable” mode to protect it from being hacked.
  • Bluesnarfing — This is a more dangerous hack that gives criminals access to some of the information on your phone. Criminals use special software to request information from your device, using the Bluetooth OBEX push profile. Even if your phone is in invisible mode, hackers can attack your phone. However, having it in invisible mode requires the hacker to guess the name of your device — making this type of hack less likely.
  • Bluebugging — The electronic business card feature in Bluetooth can also be used to open your phone to takeover by a hacker. Fortunately, newer phones are pretty safe from this type of hack, but older phones and outdated firmware can still be vulnerable.

How to protect your phone from hackers:

Setting up your phone to be secure is one of the first things you should do when you get a new phone. If you or your employees have not taken these steps, then they should right away.

Change the PIN on your voice mail. A phone that is still using the default voice mail or pairing PIN is vulnerable to being accessed by hackers. Changing your PIN often and avoiding PIN numbers that may be available on the Web, such as your birthday, anniversary, etc., is your best protection.

Make your Bluetooth more secure. Just like your computer, your mobile phone should have anti-virus and anti-malware security software. There are dozens available and there are many Websites that rank the software for effectiveness. Since you access the Web from your phone you’ll want protection from any sites you may visit that have infected downloads or other malware.

Here are some other tips that will increase your phone’s security:

  • Disable your Bluetooth when you aren’t using it.
  • Keep your phone in non-discoverable mode.
  • Avoid pairing your phone unless absolutely necessary.
  • Use non-regular patterns as PIN keys while pairing a device.
  • Make sure your phone is registered with its manufacturer so you can be sure to get updates that continuously improve your phone’s security.
  • Always enable encryption when establishing Bluetooth connection to your PC.

Today’s phones hold large amounts of personal and business data that you will want to keep secure. This data is of value to hackers, which is why it’s important to take every measure possible to protect it. By following the above steps, you can better avoid the dark side of mobility and keep your important data secure.

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