What’s on Your Phone?

Today, most of us depend on our mobile phones and see it as a necessity in our everyday lives. Smartphones (and tablets) have provided us with a convenient way to communicate, socialize, work, take pictures, have our address book on hand, shop and even bank online. But we often forget that our smartphones are more akin to a mini handheld computer than a phone. Yes, it can make and receive phone calls, but with a web browser and apps, it can do so much more!

Our reliance on our mobile phones has driven an explosion in the growth of smartphones (a mobile phone that is able to perform many of the functions of a computer, typically having a relatively large screen and an operating system capable of running general-purpose applications). According to ABI Research, there will be over 1.4 billion smartphones in use by the end of this year, which is a 44% increase from last year. And we’re also spending money to make the most of our mini computers. IHS reports that consumers will spend $15.5 billion on apps by the end of this year, which is more than the combined total for 2010, 2011 and 2012.

So what’s on your phone? Definitely a lot more than you think.

With the advent of the apps, your smartphone now contains much more of your personal data than you probably realize. Yes it has your contacts with their phone numbers and emails, but depending on what you store on your mobile device, it probably also has your user names and passwords, access to your credit cards and bank accounts, possibly access to your work email and files.

Yet despite all this personal information and data (that is valuable to hackers), most of us don’t take the proper steps to protect our information. 36% of us don’t lock our smartphones or tablets with a PIN or passcode and 30% of us have password information “hidden” in our notes app. And almost 40% of us don’t have the data on our smartphone or tablet backed up in the event of loss or theft.*

It’s time we all realize that our smartphones are more than just phones. And yes if our phone was lost or stolen it would stink to have to pay to replace it. But it will be a lot worse to lose your valuable data that is on that smartphone than the phone itself. So do yourself a favor and make sure you protect your mobile devices, just like you protect your computer and remember that your mobile device is your phonebook, email account, family photo album, social media connection and even your wallet, all rolled into one.

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* McAfee and One Poll, January 2013


RobertSicilianoRobert Siciliano is an Online Security Expert to McAfee. He is the author of 99 Things You Wish You Knew Before Your Mobile was Hacked!  Disclosures.

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