With more wireless devices than
people in the U.S., we have the ability
to communicate anytime, anywhere.
As our use of the devices increases
and expands to new features and
functions in other areas such as
banking and healthcare, they may
hold even more personal data.
By following CTIA–The Wireless
Association® and its members'
simple CYBERSAFETY tips, consumers
can actively protect themselves
and their data.
Check to make sure the websites, downloads,
SMS links, etc. are legitimate and trustworthy
BEFORE you visit or add to them to your mobile
device so you can avoid adware/spyware/
viruses/unauthorized charges/etc. Spyware and
adware may provide unauthorized access to your
information, such as location, websites visited
and passwords, to questionable entities. You can
validate an application's usage by checking with
an application store. To ensure a link is legitimate,
search the entity's website and match it to the
Year-round, 24/7, always use and protect your
wireless device with passwords and PINs to
prevent unauthorized access. Passwords/PINs
should be hard to guess, changed periodically and
never shared. When you aren't using your device,
set its inactivity timer to a reasonably short period
(i.e., 1–3 minutes).
Back-up important files from your wireless device
to your personal computer or to a cloud service/
application periodically in case your wireless
device is compromised, lost or stolen.
Examine your monthly wireless bill to ensure there
is no suspicious and unauthorized activity. Many
wireless providers allow customers to check their
usage 24/7 by using shortcuts on their device,
calling a toll-free number or visiting their website.
Contact your wireless provider for details.
Read user agreements BEFORE installing software
or applications to your mobile device. Some
companies may use your personal information,
including location, for advertising or other uses.
Unfortunately, there are some questionable
companies that include spyware/malware/viruses
in their software or applications.
Sensitive and personal information, such as
banking or health records, should be encrypted or
safeguarded with additional security features, such
as Virtual Private Networks (VPN). For example, many
applications stores offer encryption software that can
be used to encrypt information on wireless devices.
Avoid rooting, jailbreaking or hacking your mobile
device and its software as it may void your device's
warranty and increase the risk of cyberthreats to a
Features and apps that can remote lock, locate and/
or erase your device should be installed and used
to protect your wireless device and your personal
information from unauthorized users.
Enlist your wireless provider and your local police
when your wireless device is stolen. If your device
is lost, ask your provider to put your account on
"hold" in case you find it. In the meantime, your
device is protected and you won't be responsible for
charges if it turns out the lost device was stolen. The
U.S. providers are creating a database designed to
prevent smartphones, which their customers report
as stolen, from being activated and/or provided
service on the networks.
Train yourself to keep your mobile device's operating
system (OS), software or apps updated to the
latest version. These updates often fix problems
and possible cyber vulnerabilities. You may need
to restart your mobile device after the updates are
installed so they are applied immediately. Many
smartphones and tablets are like mini-computers so
it's a good habit to develop.
You should never alter your wireless device's
unique identification numbers (i.e., International
Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) and Electronic
Serial Number (ESN)). Similar to a serial number, the
wireless network authenticates each mobile device
based on its unique number.
Last Updated: October 2012