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Security Tips for Using Mobile Applications

Mobile devices (such as smartphones and tablet) have become an indispensable part of our daily lives. Users become more reliant on mobile applications for using social networks, accessing cloud services, shopping online, conducting online transactions, etc. Therefore, mobile applications would process massive information, including personal and sensitive information. Users should exercise care when using mobile applications and take precautions to protect themselves from the potential security threats such as information leakage. Some security tips to users for using mobile applications are listed as follows -

Precautions of using mobile applications

  • Install only mobile applications from official application stores or trusted sources
  • Install mobile security software such as anti-malware software to protect both the device and data
  • Read the comments on the applications, the term and conditions as well as privacy policy, where available, before installing applications
  • Scrutinise thoroughly all permission requests, in particular of those involving privileged access, when installing/using mobile applications
  • Review if additional permission requests is necessary when updating applications
  • Enable security features provided by the mobile applications (e.g. password protection, secure connection, etc.) if available
  • Upgrade the operating system and mobile applications to the latest version
  • Do not download files from unknown sources, nor open or follow links from suspicious or un-trusted sources
  • Don’t forward any hoax messages to avoid further spreading when using instant messaging applications such as Whatsapp and WeChat
  • Regularly review mobile applications installed on the device and remove the applications whenever consider not necessary
  • Do not remove usage and access limitation controls of the device (e.g. jailbreak)
  • Turn off automatic connection feature for wireless services in mobile device such as Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, NFC, etc.

Protecting data stored in mobile devices/applications

  • Minimise the amount of data stored and avoid storing sensitive data
  • Encrypt sensitive data at all times during storage and transmission
  • Back up important data and test data recovery procedures where appropriate
  • Ensure all data have been completely erased before disposal or re-use of the mobile device
  • Set up a remote data wiping feature if available

You may also visit Protecting Mobile Device for more tips for maintaining the security of your mobile device. In addition, Android users may also visit the recent vulnerabilities: Certifi-Gate and Stagefright.

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