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Tech Tip | Are you secure while on the go?

By Randy Hollowell
On October 24, 2011

Nearly everyone carries a cell phone with them these days, and other mobile devices like smartphones, iPods/iPads, and netbooks are also becoming more prevalent.  Everyone uses these devices in different ways.  Some people only use the phone aspect of a device, while others might make calls but also use texting features.  Then there are the full service devices that allow for email, web surfing and document sharing.

The use of these devices is great.  It allows us to stay in closer contact with family and friends, gives us easy access to important work or school information, and allows us to be more productive over a greater amount of time in each day.  But, at what cost?

Recent statistics show that around 70 million cell phones are reported lost annually – that equates to about 30% of all cell phones used in the United States.  With such a high number, we must almost assume that we will be one of those 70 million at some point.  So what can you do to protect yourself?  Here are a few helpful hints:

  • Don't leave your device unattended
  • Use a password to access your device
  • Record important information about your device: make, model, and serial number
  • If your phone is lost or stolen, contact your cell provider immediately
  • Try to call your phone to see if someone has found it
  • Report to local law enforcement

Another recent threat to mobile devices is through apps.  Apps are often used by hackers to trick you into installing compromised software on your device.  This software can then be used to access information on your device like photos, stored data, and information about your location (GPS).  They may also be sending back personal information to third parties.  To help combat this risk:

  • Only get apps from official app stores
  • Uninstall apps you no longer use
  • Don't always automatically download the newest apps

October is National Cyber Security Awareness Month, so we will be providing you with a different security tip each week this month.  For more information about keeping confidential information safe online, go to

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