Many of us, if not most of us, are managing our social connections—and increasingly our financial lives—on mobile devices. No longer tethered to the desktop or that pesky laptop, we pay bills, make deposits, and access accounts and balances from any location at any time. It’s quite convenient, as long as you remember to charge your phone or tablet. (I’ve taken to carrying power cords with me, since I often need the device right when I’ve neglected to charge it.)
Unfortunately, mobile devices have become fresh territory for hackers and criminals looking to gain access to your identity and money. As a result, we’re hearing more and more questions about the safety of transacting through mobile channels.
And the fact is, everyone should be asking questions. After all, these new gadgets are in many ways no different from that dinosaur desktop that you’ve loaded up with antispyware and virus protection. Your mobile devices are also vulnerable to attack, and you should be taking steps to deter fraudsters.
At Vanguard, we devote significant resources toward ensuring the security of our mobile platforms, just as we do for vanguard.com and our other digital services. But we need your help to keep your personal and financial information protected. If you’re careless with your electronic devices—and with your user names and passwords—a determined criminal might be able to crack through even the most stringent security systems.
What do you do?
• “There’s an app for that.” As a starting point, check out the available apps from the major security providers to find a mobile security app that’s right for you. There are plenty of them out there.
• Make sure you get an app with threat protection which will scan for malware. Once you’ve downloaded the security app, keep it updated.
• While you’re at it, activate your phone’s PIN feature or security lock code, along with antitheft software including remote wipe to guard against misuse should the phone be stolen or lost.
• If you must write down your user names, passwords, PINs, or other security identifiers, never leave them where someone might find them.
When it comes to home security, you want to aim for being the best protected house on the block. That’s true for your mobile devices as well. Let the criminals knock on someone else’s digital door.