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5 ways to protect your mobile spending in 2014

5 ways to protect your mobile spending in 2014

1/27/2014

Convenience has been one of the chief motivators behind the rapid spread of mobile devices among consumers worldwide. Smartphones and tablets are allowing us to do a great number of our most essential activities on a single platform - and as such, it's natural that we're finding ourselves doing much of our shopping, banking and other financial activities on our mobile devices. But if you're spending on your smartphone, it's essential to make sure you approach your mobile finances with the same level of caution you would your physical banking documents, credits cards and online payments you make on a desktop computer.

Not all of the kinks have been worked out of mobile banking and payments yet, and the number of ways in which your device and apps might be breached makes investing in additional data protection essential. A whole host of malware programs specifically targeted to the Android mobile operating system stepped onto the scene last year, and IOACtive Labs Research recently discovered that 40 iOS apps from the world's top 60 banks contained vulnerabilities: 50 percent could be compromised through JavaScript infections, while 90 percent contained unencrypted links.

As you use your phone to make purchases and manage your finances this year, bear in mind these five key data protection principles.

1. Know what not to store
Not all data is created equal. Some pieces of information are more important than others, and the most sensitive data simply shouldn't be stored on your device. This includes passwords to mobile Web pages you frequently use for financial matters - your loan provider's home page, for instance. You should also configure your banking apps so that you have to enter the passcode each time you launch the program, and the same goes for any application you use to make purchases, such as mobile retail apps.

2. Get the right security apps
It's helpful if you think of your device as a little handheld computer, requiring the same level of protection as a PC. That means anti-virus software is just as important for your smartphone or tablet as it is for your laptop or home computer, and a number of apps can provide these tools.

When it comes to Android, there are plenty of great options, but Digital Trends recently highlighted some of the top security apps for the Google OS. Avast is a free app that offers a firewall and network control, while 360 Mobile Security boasts a 99.9 percent threat detection rate. Meanwhile, the popular Lookout Security app is available for both iOS and Android, and iMAS is an Apple-specific program that can help protect your other apps with tough encryption and other security policies.

3. Encrypt your device
Speaking of encryption, you should be using it wherever possible. If you have an Android device, all you need to do is go into Settings and turn on the encryption option. iOS uses the main passcode to scramble the device's data.

4. Prepare for the worst
If your device becomes lost or stolen, you'll need to be able to ensure that it falling into the wrong hands doesn't jeopardize your finances. Remote wiping tools allow you to remove all information from your device if it becomes necessary - and if you have data backup as well, then there's nothing to lose in deleting your data except the risk of financial harm.

5. Protect your identity
Unfortunately, mobile phone insurance only covers the value of your physical device - it doesn't protect your critical financial information if and when you lose track of your phone. ProtectCELL's identity protection plans provide resources, including support and resolution for cases of suspected mobile identity theft, that can help mitigate some of the more worrisome mobile risks.

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