How secure is your mobile device

hand with tablet

In a world where people rely on their mobile devices for financial tasks, such as paying bills and shopping online, it’s important to make sure your device—and the private information stored on it—is as protected as possible from mobile security threats. Answer these questions to help determine whether your mobile device is secure. If not, find out what you can do about it.

1

Do you use your fingerprint, biometrics or a password to help protect your mobile device?

Enabling a passcode, fingerprint or other biometric login for your mobile device helps safeguard your information in the event your device is lost or stolen. As with any password or passcode, don’t share it with anyone. Also, for optimum mobile security, don’t allow friends or family to enroll in fingerprint or other biometric authentication on your device.

2

Do you use strong passwords and change them every 90 days?

For both the device and the tools and apps on it it’s essential to use strong passwords. Try to make them long and complex, using letters, numbers and symbols, and try to avoid real words. It also helps if the passwords are unique and memorable for you, though you shouldn’t include information such as your Social Security number, birth date or phone number. Remember to change your passwords every few months. And for sites where it’s available, consider using two-factor authentication, which adds another layer of security by requiring you to enter a code, sent by text or email, before you sign in.

Tip: While an online password manager can help you stay organized, remember these websites can be compromised like any other. If you use one, change your master password often and watch for reported security breaches.

3

Do you have unique passwords for your banking apps?

Don’t use your banking password for any other sites. Identity thieves know many people reuse passwords, so they may use this stolen information to try to access bank accounts. Creating unique passwords helps reduce this risk.

4

Have you turned on notifications and alerts to track your bank account activity?

When you set up alerts through your bank’s website or mobile app, you receive customizable notifications about your account. You can elect to be notified about suspicious transactions or attempts to change your personal information such as your address or ID. This helps you stay informed about possible account risks. Mobile app alerts are available to Bank of America customers who download our Mobile Banking app.

5

Do you install automatic updates to keep your software up to date?

It’s easy to postpone installing updates on your devices, but keeping your software current is a crucial part of your mobile security. Updates include repairs to existing bugs and security issues so your devices can run smoothly and safely.

6

Do you make sure the apps you download are from trusted app stores or reputable companies?

It’s safest to download apps from the official app store for your device; this means the app has been verified and is less likely to be suspicious. In addition, you should thoroughly review an app’s permissions to find out what access it has to information and functions on your device. If an app doesn’t need to know your location or have access to your photos, don’t let it.

7

Are you careful not to open or reply to emails, text messages or pop-ups from unknown sources?

Don’t reply to emails requesting information such as your credit card number, bank account information or any personal details. Even if the email appears to be from a legitimate financial institution, forward it to your bank, then delete it. (Bank of America customers can send suspicious emails to abuse@bankofamerica.com.) You should also be cautious about replying to unexpected text messages. Thieves use this text-based version of phishing—known as SMiShing—and take advantage of the urgent nature of texts to catch you off guard. Also, don’t download attachments or click on links in a text, email or pop-up unless you are absolutely certain they’re safe.

8

Do you avoid open or unknown Wi-Fi networks, especially when you use your banking apps?

As convenient as it is to check your account balance while you’re out and about, this might leave your sensitive account information at risk. You should never access your bank accounts through an open or unsecured Wi-Fi network unless you’re using a VPN (virtual private network), which encrypts your private data such as your ID and password. VPN apps, along with their quality ratings, are available through your phone or tablet’s app store.

9

Do you safeguard your personal information when using social media?

It’s easy to get carried away in a tweetstorm or while gramming your honeymoon. But remember to protect details such as your full birth date, address, phone number, email and Social Security number from anyone on social media who doesn’t really need it. Send information, when necessary, by private or direct message instead of posting it publicly. And be cautious about revealing where you are and when you’re away from home. For example, wait until you’re back from vacation before posting photos of your toes on the beach.

10

Have you “rooted” or “jailbroken” your phone?

Some people hack or unlock their mobile devices—known as “rooting” (on Android phones) or “jailbreaking” (on iOS devices)—to access a greater variety of apps and functions. Doing this not only voids your warranty, it also can remove manufacturer built-in security and leave your device open to malware attacks. It’s best to leave your phone or tablet as is.

By following these mobile security guidelines, you help keep your mobile device—and your personal information and finances—safe and secure.

Learn more about how Bank of America helps keep you safe online.

Close Disclaimer
The material provided on this website is for informational use only and is not intended for financial or investment advice. Bank of America and/or its affiliates, and Khan Academy, assume no liability for any loss or damage resulting from one’s reliance on the material provided. Please also note that such material is not updated regularly and that some of the information may not therefore be current. Consult with your own financial professional when making decisions regarding your financial or investment options.

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