I have conversations with people who use their phone to access details about their business and store personal information and say there is nothing they would not mind other people seeing. If it was stolen, they say the worse thing that could happen is to get a bill running into hundreds of pounds while it was being used to call premium rate or overseas numbers. But what about...
Identify theft. A criminal gets access to details such as your full name, date of birth, current address and details that you may use as security questions for online accounts, e.g. names of children. They use these details to open or take over bank accounts, obtain credit cards and loans and take out phone contracts.
Taking over your email account. A criminal uses your business account to send emails to all your contacts with links to websites that contain malicious software (malware) that downloads viruses or send attachments that contain malware. They may also go through Sent emails looking for ones with invoices; they send out emails saying you have a new bank account - the criminal's bank account they have just set up - and to make payments to that.
Taking over your social media accounts. A criminal puts up links to websites that contain malicious software or post offensive or illegal comments. They can also close down the accounts.
Data Protection violations. A criminal passes on details about all your contacts who subsequently receive spam emails and SMS messages. The Information Commissioners Office issue fines where adequate protection has not been taken to protect information.
Securing your phone
- Use a lock screen and a fingerprint scanner (if available). Use a six digit PIN code or a passcode/password that has at least eight characters. And don't use a simple password such as '123456' or 'password'
- Use remote phone wipe. Enable the feature that remotely wipes your phone if it is lost or stolen. Android devices. Apple devices
- Keep your phone up to date. Install updates to the operating system to make sure criminals cannot exploit any security issues with lock screens
- Don't leave your phone on a table in a public place or an open bag
Being secure does mean it takes another 1 to 2 seconds to access your phone each time to get through the lock screen or fingerprint scan, but this is better than having to spend hours or even days to deal with the fallout of a criminal getting access.