How to keep your smartphone secure

There is an increasing need for smartphone users to utilize security software to protect the data from cybercrime as Kenyans embrace online phone payments.

A survey conducted by global security software company ESET shows that 31 percent of smartphone users experienced a security incident in the last 12 months, 29.3 percent do not lock their smartphone, and around one third, 32.4 percent to be exact, does not use any security solution to protect it.

ESET East African Area Manager Bruce Donovan said that cybercriminals are always looking for the weakest links when planning their attacks and often it’s human error, such as weak passwords or opening phishing emails that they target first.

Smartphones are like mini computers and users must take steps to protect them just like they would their computers as hackers are always looking for any vulnerable points to steal personal information,” said Mr. Donovan.

The survey further showed that while only 9.7 percent of users reported their phones lost or stolen, only 55.3 percent use PINs to lock their phones and a further 19.7 percent did not have any back up for their data.

According to Donovan, there are simple steps that smartphone users can take to protect their smartphones. Firstly, the user must regularly back up the data stored on a smartphone. Secondly, users should lock put in place mechanisms such as PINs to protect their devices against physical breaches. Lastly, users should put in place the 2-factor authentication for online services where a verification mechanism is activated before access is granted.

With the internet of things, we also educate users on the importance of protecting the “cloud” which will enable them retrieve all their data should they lose their phones. At the moment, only 26.9 percent use these cloud services and 23.1 percent saving the data both locally and in the cloud,” said Donovan.

According to the Communication Authority, mobile phone penetration stands at 83.9 percent with over 29.1 million internet users which was attributed to the increased demand for mobile data services, m-commerce, m-banking services and other emerging mobile services.

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