On my way to Prague last month, I decided to pick up May’s print volume of PC Today. Coincidentally, the entire volume was focused on security.
The first article that caught my attention was about the Federal Communications Commission’s plans to help the victims of phone theft. The article goes on to say, “… when a given phone is reported stolen, wireless carriers can remotely shut down that phone.” What does this mean for you, the consumer?
First of all, the FCC is attempting to protect victims of data and identity theft. However, more than likely your data will be long retrieved by the time you notice your phone is stolen and call the wireless provider.
Secondly, the article cites the FCC’s statistic that 40% of New York City robberies are that of mobile phones. However, I doubt that the majority of those were for the purpose of data theft but rather for the theft of the hardware itself.
If you’re concerned about the data and identity theft aspect of losing your phone, you can take several steps to mitigate that risk:
- Don’t store sensitive data on your phone. This is pretty common sense. You wouldn’t want your credit card information easily accessible, but who stores that on their phone anyway? What’s more common is saving e-mail passwords and allowing the thief to gain easy access to your personal, or even more sensitive corporate e-mails.
- Another layer of passwords, such as locking access to your phone with a 4 digit number, is another excellent way to deter thieves.
- Use the software that comes with your phone. Instead of relying on the wireless carrier to deactivate the phone, or even to support the feature, use software that is prepackaged. For example, Apple’s iPhone comes with a nifty feature called Find My iPhone that can help you erase all of the data remotely. The article did not specify whether the FCC was going to require this for all wireless carriers.
In the digital age of today, our eyes are glued to our mobile phones. Don’t become a victim of mobile theft and make sure to have that phone glued to your side.
How else do you think the FCC can help?