The wireless industry works hard to protect networks and devices and stay ahead of constantly evolving cyber dangers. We also encourage you to play an active role in protecting your data. Here are some steps we recommend:
Use programs and adopt practices designed to protect your information
- Require PINs/passwords. PINs/passwords should use a mix of lower and upper case letters, numbers and special characters, and avoid easily guessed phrases or sequences. PINs/passwords should also be changed often, never shared and required to take any sensitive action on your account, such as changing account credentials.
- Avoid rooting, jailbreaking or otherwise hacking your device. Hacking your device or overriding its native settings may make you vulnerable to cyber threats.
- Install operating system updates that fix security vulnerabilities. To protect your device, it’s important to promptly apply software updates that help resolve security issues.
- Use trusted applications for end-to-end data encryption. Sensitive information is best protected by encrypting it—translating data into code that is unreadable without a digital key. Carriers and device manufacturers offer a variety of apps and built-in services to protect voice, data and messaging communications through end-to-end encryption—please visit your carrier or device manufacturer’s website, app store or call customer service for more information.
- Protect your data on open networks. When using public Wi-Fi networks—like those offered by restaurants or hotels—avoid accessing sensitive information that you wouldn’t want seen by others on the network and if possible, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to protect your data.
Be aware of how your data is being used
- Research apps before you download them and don’t click on links that seem untrustworthy. Check to make sure websites, apps, media, message links, etc. are legitimate before clicking on or downloading them to avoid viruses, spyware and unauthorized charges.
- Read user agreements. Understand how and when your information will be used by applications before you download them.
- Examine your wireless bill to ensure there are no suspicious or unauthorized charges. Many wireless providers allow you to check your usage by calling customer service, visiting your provider’s website or using an app on your device.
Prepare your device in the case of loss or theft
- Turn on features or install apps that can locate, lock or erase your device remotely. Most devices have built-in features that allow you to locate or lock your device and erase the content on it, should you lose your phone or have it stolen. Apps are also available to perform these services on various operating systems—please check your app store for more information.
- Back up your files to a secure storage space on a regular basis. Creating copies of your data can provide you with access to your files if your device is lost or stolen.
- Consider purchasing insurance from your wireless provider or a third party. If your device is lost or stolen, insurance can help to cover the cost of replacement.
- Report a lost or stolen device to your wireless provider and your local police department. If your device is lost or stolen, ask your provider to put your account on hold to protect you from unauthorized charges. Law enforcement and consumers can also check the status of a phone they suspect may be stolen on stolenphonechecker.org.
Last Updated January 2018