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How mobile shoppers can be proactive about smartphone security

How mobile shoppers can be proactive about smartphone security

12/9/2013

The holiday shopping season is a time of considerable stress. Reading seemingly endless to-buy lists, fighting through crowded retail stores, waiting in painfully slow check-out lines - and the list goes on. Against this backdrop, mobile shopping presents a hugely appealing option for many. The streamlined process of ordering items on your smartphone or tablet helps you avoid the headaches associated with ducking in and out of brick-and-mortar operations, in addition to potentially saving hours of valuable time.

However, shopping on your mobile device comes with its own unique set of concerns: You'll have to make sure your identifying information is safe in case your smartphone is hacked or stolen. Before you run with arms outstretched into the welcome embrace of mobile commerce, keep in mind these easy-to-remember data protection techniques.

Manage your passwords
It goes without saying that you should have different passwords for as many of the various sites you access as possible - but you should also consider how much control over these passwords you maintain. Mobile shoppers shouldn't save financial passwords on their devices, ABC News recommended. Storing these login codes could provide a potential hacker or thief much-too-easy access to your bank accounts and other sensitive information.

Know your network
Sometimes, effective security isn't fully in your control. A prime example of this is when you log on to a public wireless network in a coffee shop or similar environment.

"With the growing popularity of mobile devices combined with public Wi-Fi networks, more consumers are becoming vulnerable to identity theft and online fraud," noted online privacy firm Cocoon.

A good principle to keep in mind is that if you're browsing on a network that didn't require you to use a password, you shouldn't send any sensitive personal data. 

Remember to back up
Should you suffer from a hack or phone theft, data backup is one of the keys to recovery. Last year, Wired journalist Matt Honan revealed that hackers deleted all the data on his iPhone, iPad and personal computer - which wouldn't have hit him so hard if he had backed up those files.

"Had I been regularly backing up the data on my MacBook, I wouldn't have had to worry about losing more than a year's worth of photos, covering the entire lifespan of my daughter, or documents and emails that I had stored in no other location," Honan wrote.

If you're looking to ensure the safety of your data with protection stronger than what mobile phone insurance offers, ProtectCELL's data plans offer backup and identity protection, so you can carry out your holiday mobile shopping with peace of mind.

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