With nearly 50% of Americans owning a smartphone, the Federal Communications Commission is working to make sure users are more informed on how to keep their device secure by providing a free online security checklist.
Dubbed the Smartphone Security Checker, the list consists of 10 steps and is customized to smartphones running Google Android, Apple's iOS, BlackBerry and Windows Phone mobile operating systems. Once a user indicates their device's platform, the site generates a list of helpful tips, such as setting a password and backing up data.
With the frequency of mobile banking increasing steadily in the U.S. this year, users need to be more alert on ways to protect their devices from cybercrime, as the FCC estimates that nearly 20% of smartphone owners have already fallen victim to such attacks.
"With less than half of smartphone owners using passwords to protect their devices, this new tool will be of particular value to millions of Americans," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement.
Other advice from the checklist includes downloading security apps to enable remote data wiping if a phone is stolen or lost, wiping data from devices before reselling or donating them, using public Wi-Fi networks safely, and what do to if a phone is stolen. The site also provides examples of what security apps to download, how to backup data and other specifics relating to the tips.
As the technology of smartphones continues to evolve and grow in functionality, more users employ their smartphones for needs beyond the basics of making phone calls and accessing their emails. Though with this luxury also comes the responsibility to block digital threats and prevent fraud, which can be rather overwhelming for users who don't know where to begin.
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