In today’s world, it’s never a bad idea to be cautious about your personal information in both your personal life and professional life. It has become far too easy for anyone to learn almost anything they want about you, including birthdays, maiden names and yes, even social security numbers. From a security point of view, I could write an enormously large document on personal security and not even scrape the surface. So, for this week, let’s just start off with one small thing that can be addressed in only a few seconds of your time, cell phones.
As we all know, cell phones have become almost a necessity in society today. Most individuals you come across have at least one if not multiple cell phones in their household. Because of this growing convenience, people tend to forget how important the information is that is stored on it. This device is a mobile computer to a significant amount of people. Even if your cell phone is not a smart phone, keep in mind that there is still very important information on it. Because of this, it becomes our individual and sole responsibility to make sure the information stored is safe. There are a few easy steps that we can take to help prevent a security breach.
1. Do not leave your cell phone were it can be accessible to anyone.
2. Do not use nicknames for contacts in your phone.
3. Do use the lock feature on your phone.
For some people, the cell phone is not the first thing they think to lock up. Often, we leave our cell phone open and available to any passer-by. I myself have often found that I leave my cell phone right on my desk at work for anyone to walk by and grab. Don’t do this. Take care of where you place and/or leave your phone. It’s too easy for someone to grab it and walk off with all of your personal information.
Second, don’t use nicknames in your contact list. “Honey”, “Sweetheart”, “My Wife”, etc. These are all names that can be used against you if your cell phone is picked up by someone. Not only can your information be taken, but the contact’s information can possibly be taken as well. I tested my theory out on my own phone and without hesitation, question, or doubt, I was given not only a birthday but a full social security number simply by stating that I wanted to add them as a beneficiary to my plan. In addition to this, try to come up with a code name with the people you are closest with. That way, when the information is requested, the person requesting the information must first know the “secret password.”
Last, but never least, simply use the lock feature on your cell phone. Almost all cell phones (smart or not) have the ability to be locked and unlocked with a code. Use this feature, but don’t make it something that can be obviously guessed by knowing only a few details about your personal life. One of my family members recently had a good laugh when it took only two guesses by a co-worker to unlock her phone. Use a little creativity so that even if your phone is taken, it can still prevent any personal information being retrieved from it.
If we use these three easy steps, it can help prevent a breach of secured information and save a lot of headaches in the future should someone get ahold of your cell phone. Be smart and be secure with the information that is on your cell phone.