How Much Is Your Phone Worth To You?

I know I have said it before but I would much rather lose my wallet than my phone. My life is on my phone: my pics, my music, my contacts, my to-do lists, my Fitbit data! And it seems as though the majority of Aussies share my passion for their devices with new research from McAfee showing 60% of adults view their smartphones as ‘priceless’.

But the research also tells a worrying tale – nearly two thirds (65%) of us Aussies do NOT have security software installed to protect our smartphones. Not only does this put the contents of our phones at risk from risky apps and malicious software but there is no Plan B if you lose your phone either.

It is widely acknowledged that Australia has one of the highest rates of mobile phone ownership in the world with more mobile phones than people in our Great Southern Land. So it makes complete sense that cybercriminals are turning their attention to profiteering from our love of mobile phones. And the latest stats from McAfee Labs demonstrate just that. Over the past 12 months mobile malware has grown over 151% with the largest ever number of new mobile malware samples to date recorded in June.

Last week was Stay Smart Online Week in Australia. An initiative by the Australian Government to encourage us all to take a ‘long, hard look’ at our online safety practices and make the relevant improvements – if required!

So, if you or your kids are among the 65% of Aussies who haven’t secured their mobile phones or you need to ‘tweak’ your mobile safety practices then here’s what you need to do ASAP:

  1. Rethink Whether Your Kids Should Use Your Work Phone

Over a third of Aussie parents let their kids use their work phone at home. Remember any activity undertaken on your phone reflects on you, the owner. So proceed with great caution!

  1. Create ‘Super-Duper’ Passwords

This is probably one of the most important things you can do. Ensure you and your kids have strong and unique passwords for each device. A ‘top-notch’ password should have between 8-10 characters, a combination of upper and lower case, numbers and special characters. Always use multi-factor authentication if it is available.

  1. Back Up Your Device Regularly

This is much easier said than done but so important. Whether it’s iCloud, Google, Dropbox or apps such as My BackUp Pro or Helium, just do it – you’ll be devastated if you lose your digital assets!

  1. Only Download Apps from Trusted Sources

Downloading ‘dodgy’ apps is where a lot of kids can go wrong. Many cybercrims develop apps with the sole purpose of trying to extract personal data from unsuspecting peeps. So, make sure your kids download apps from trusted sources such as the App Store or Google Play and insist they read the reviews.

  1. Be Wary of Free Wi-Fi

Again, another trap that many kids can fall into. Many public Wifi networks are unsecured which means any information you share while online could be stolen. If you have to use public WiFi then consider using a Virtual Private Network and definitely don’t do any banking!

  1. Invest In Security Software

This is a no brainer! Sleep better at night and invest in mobile security for your phone. McAfee Total Protection software also includes security specifically for your phone. It will manage what information your phone shares to your apps and what information your apps are collecting; it will block spam, malicious website and links and it will help manage your memory and battery life.

But perhaps my favourite feature is its ability to back up and restore ‘your stuff’ before you wipe the contents of your missing phone. It can also remotely lock and wipe the contents of your phone – to avoid prying eyes! Gold!

So, don’t pass GO and collect $200 – please do something right away about protecting your phone and your digital assets. Imagine losing those super cute and slightly embarrassing pics of your kids? Devastating for you – although possibly a relief for them!


Till next time

Alex x

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