Does Your Smartphone put You at Risk for Identity Theft?
The computer in your pocket might be the least secure part of your digital life. In 2016 a new record was set for identity theft with more than 421 billion data records stolen. That breaks down to 35 data points compromised every second of every day. The more frequently a device is used, as our phones always are, the more opportunities for attack there are. Be sure that you take advantage of all the tools available to make your smartphone as secure as it can be.
The problem of identity theft is becoming more and more widespread. Globally, Mexico has the highest instance of ID theft per capita while the US is number two with India in third place and the UK number six. Nearly one out of ten Americans fall victim to the crime every year. There are high costs to pay when you are targeted. 40% of the damages incurred exceed $15,000. The consequences can be long lasting as on top of the injury to finances, many victims have trouble securing credit and loans after the crime and credit ratings can take years to recover. With this kind of risk, more and more people are taking advantage of identity theft protection. These firms provide monitoring services to protect and alert you as well as insurance against financial losses.
Your phone’s password is the first line of defense. Making experts advise making longer passwords as well as never repeating the same password for different logins. Password manager apps like 1Password also relieve the tedium of needing to remember each one by securely storing your pass phrases. Biometric fingerprint detection also helps is included on iPhones since the 5S, and also featured on some Android phones such as the Nexus Imprint. Encrypting your internal storage is key. Most modern devices have this ability. If a hacker does gain remote access, your content is still protected behind an additional layer of security. If your phone gets lost or stolen, remote wipe, the ability to erase it from another computer, is essential.
Nothing is ever 100% unhackably secure, but sufficient security gets you very far. Criminals tend to go for the easy pickings, so a well-protected device with multiple layers of security stands in a good position. You can’t stop people from attempting to hack your account, but you can be prepared when it happens.