How to Avoid Mobile Scams

mobile scams

 

Back in 2016, mobile device usage overtook fixed computing internet usage, so it’s hardly surprising that smartphone and mobile devices are a huge target for cyber villains.

According to a recent article in BullGuard, recently:

  • More than 500 Android mobile apps were removed from Google Play after it was discovered that a software development kit (SDK) embedded in the apps could be leveraged to install spyware on devices
  • The SDK was developed by a Chinese company and may have been used to install malware

To illustrate the scale of the problem further:

  • Last year, in a two month period, malware known as CopyCat infected 14 million devices around the world and rooted (i.e. gained root access to your device) more than half of them, about eight million devices
  • The malware spread via popular apps, which were repackaged with CopyCat and available for download on third-party app stores
  • It installed a component to the device’s system directory and targeted Android core process that launches apps, basically giving attackers admin privileges

When you get your phone out of the box, you can only alter what the manufacturer allows you to. Gaining root access means you can modify the device’s software on the deepest level, giving hackers remote control over your device.

Scary stuff.

How to beat the scammers

The best way you can protect yourself is by using mobile security. There are lots out there, but here at MPM IT we recommend BullGuard’s free Mobile Security.

 

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

Protect Your Android Device

Android security

Usually, when you think about smartphones you think iPhone. Well, it come as a bit of a shock to hear that isn’t the only smartphone that’s available – there are Android ones too.

Almost every article about protecting smartphones is aimed at Apple users, well we’re about to change all that. You see, Android devices are actually more popular than their fruity counterpart (Yay!) and, due to their open operating systems, far more vulnerable to hacking and malware (boo).

So, to help you keep your information, files and photos safe here’s a quick round up of things to look out for so you can keep your Android phone (and its contents) safe from attackers.

Ready?

The Con

The most successful hacks are those that dupe you into entering your password and email address. Usually they come in the shape of a pop-up or false login screen. Your information is then get to a bot that attempts to log in to anything and everything on your behalf.

Sneaky.

The bad news is there’s no third-party way of avoiding this, so all we can recommend you do is be alert.

App installation from unknown sources

Your Android phone allows you to install apps that don’t come from the Google Play Store. This can be useful, but it can also be a curse. Once you’ve enabled your phone to install one from an ‘unknown source’, very few apps ask tell you to go back and disable it once the app is installed, leaving your phone vulnerable. So take care when installing ‘off piste’.

Malware apps

Google has worked hard to set up user testing areas for companies that want to beta test new features. As a result, should you decide to go ‘off piste’ and install apps outside of the Google Play Store, make sure you’re in no doubt that the app is safe.

These apps could be tampered with, or the app could just be malware that is labelled as something else.

Antivirus software for Android

There’s no question that Android-based devices are rapidly becoming the target for a surging tide of malware and spyware, which is why protection is vital.

MPM IT recommends BullGuard Mobile Security for Android (other products are available) because it delivers comprehensive protection so your photos and other data are always protected.

A range of features means that it’s always up to data so infections are halted, including unwanted apps such as adware. It also scans new apps for malicious code that may be ‘hiding’ in the app. Plus, a cloud-based AV engine doesn’t drain your battery while ensuring you always have the latest protection.

You can check the status of your phone with its full scan feature, which checks for possible infections, malware or unwanted apps such as adware. And it automatically scans apps as soon as they are installed on your device notifying you immediately of any malicious or suspicious apps.

Yes, it’s a faff, but we think it’s worth it for the peace of mind you’ll get that all your personal information is safe and sound.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: BullGuard

Wi-Fi Assist – What’s All The Fuss About?

Mobile data and wi-fi assist

 

If you own an iPhone and are using iOS9, you’ve probably already heard about Wi-Fi Assist.

It’s a new feature that’s been getting a lot of attention lately, especially with some reports stating that it could cost you a lot if you have a limited mobile data plan.

This is how it works: if you’re using your iPhone at home and wander outside losing your Wi-Fi signal, Wi-Fi Assist will allow your mobile data to kick in so you don’t lose connection.

 

It’s designed to work only when your Wi-Fi signal is too weak to deliver content. To be honest, before it existed you would provably have switched to mobile data anyway, therefore it’s unlikely to result in higher charged than you would normally incur.

How to disable Wi-Fi Assist

Of course, as with all the features available on your iPhone, you do have the option to disable Wi-Fi Assist.

All you have to do is follow these simple steps.

  1. Go to “Settings” from your home screen

iPhone

 

 

 

 

 

 

2. Click on “Mobile Data”.

iPhone mobile data

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

3. Scroll down past your apps, right to the bottom where you’ll find “Wi-Fi Assist”. Switch it to off using the toggle.

iPhone wi-fi assist

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have a data cap, although unlikely to cause you excessive charges, it could be wise to disable this feature, just to be on the safe side.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

10 Ways to Lock Down Your iPhone or Android Device

Padlock

It’s horrible when you realise your phone is missing.

Your heart drops and all you can think about is all the data you have stored on it and of course the inconvenience of being phone-less.

OK, you had set up the “Find my iPhone” or Android Device Manager, but the thief can do a lot of damage before you have discovered its location.

So how can you lock down your phone to make sure its contents remain safe?

Here are 10 easy ways to ensure the security of your iPhone or Android device.

1. Passcode

It’s always best to start in the most obvious place.

If you haven’t already done so, set up a passcode to make sure you have at least one barrier between your data and would-be thieves.

2. Find my iPhone and Android Device Manager

I mentioned these briefly earlier. Both of these programmes can pinpoint your missing device, lock it remotely, set off ringers and wipe all their data, so make sure you activate them.

For Android it can be done by going to your browser and whilst signed into your Google account, visit the Android Device Manager page. For iOS, tap iCloud, Find my iPhone and enable the setting.

3. Immediate password

Both iOS and Android give you the option to wake your phone without a passcode after it’s been recently unlocked.

Whilst that might seem a good idea in theory, it leaves a rather large chink in your security. Personally, I wouldn’t use this feature, but if you want to you can find it under Settings – Security on your Android device and Settings – Passcode on your iPhone.

4. Block access to control centre (iOS)

This is the slide up window on your iPhone and iPad that gives you easy access to things like Wi-Fi, alarms, camera etc..

The problem with this that it also makes it easy for anyone to mess with your phone. In fact, a thief can use it to put your phone in airplane mode rendering the Find my iPhone app useless.

To block access to it, go to Settings – Control Centre and switch off the “Access on Lock Screen” setting.

5. Better PIN or password

Upping the anti with a longer and stronger password or PIN is an obvious way to increase your phone’s security.

On Android go to Settings – Security – Screen Lock and then tap either PIN or Password and follow the steps.

For iPhone, tap Settings – Passcode, then disable simple passcode option. Once that’s done you’ll be prompted to create and verify a new passcode.

6. Android – encrypt data

If you have Lollipop pre-installed you data is already encrypted.

If yours is older (or has been updated to Lollipop) the encryption isn’t turned on by default.

To set encryption go to Settings – Security – Encrypt phone and tap the final confirmation button. Be warned though, depending on how much data you have it can take several hours before the process is complete and you’ll need to keep your phone plugged into its charger for the whole process.

7. Activation lock (iOS)

A new iOS8 feature is Activation Lock prevents anyone without the proper passcode from activating a lost iOS device rendering it useless.

However, it only works if yo have the Find my iPhone app enabled.

8. Put your name and contact information on the lock screen (Android)

If your phone goes missing, you can always use the Android Device Manager to lock your device and flash a “rescue” message on the lock screen.

It’s a great idea, but if your lost Android phone is in airplane mode or out of wireless range sending a rescue message with your name and number won’t do much good.

Instead, add a message to your device’s lock screen now, before it gets lost—a message with your name, a phone number, an email address, or another means of reaching you.

Just tap Settings –  Security – Owner info, and enter the text of the message. On pre-Lollipop phones, you’ll also need to check the box next to Show owner info on lock screen.

9. Set your iPhone to “ping” to Apple just before its battery dies

If your missing iPhone is about to run out of juice, leaving it unable to send a “ping” to Find My iPhone, go to Settings –  iCloud – Find my iPhone and switch on the Send Last Location setting.

Your phone will then send out a final ping complete with location data to Apple’s servers, so at least you’ll know where your iPhone was before it died.

10. Hide notifications from the lock screen

Lock-screen notifications make for an easy way to check your e-mail, text messages, calendar events, and other mobile goings-on without having to unlock your phone.

They also make it easy for strangers to read your messages and take a peek at your digital life, so it’s probably best to hide them from your lock screen.

For Android “Lollipop” go to Settings – Sounds and notification, then tap the “When device is locked setting. Then you can choose from three options: Show all notification content, Hide sensitive notification content (which, for example, still flashes alerts for new email but doesn’t display subject lines or contents), and Don’t show notifications at all.

As for iOS, unfortunately, hiding all notifications from the lock screen isn’t so easy, You’re going to have to check each app that offers notifications and see if lock-screen notifications are enabled by going to Settings – Notifications, tap an app in the Include list, and make sure Show on Lock Screen isn’t switched on.

There you go, 10 simple ways to help you lock down your smartphone.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Source: PCWorld.com

Which Broadband Provider Gets The Most Complaints?

Do you love a good moan about your broadband?

Unless you’re fortunate enough to be living in a large urban area and have access to super fast broadband, you’re probably putting up with slow speeds and drop outs.

That would seem especially so if you’re an EE customer. According to a recent article in Computer Weekly, the joint venture between Orange and T-Mobile has been named the most complained about broadband provider for the 5th consecutive quarter.

It receives double the average number of complaints from users – 0.45 complaints per 1,000 customers – mainly related to billing and service faults. Not only that, it didn’t fare too well when it came to pay monthly mobile services.

Not encouraging reading if you’re an EE customer.

In comparison Virgin Media received the least complaints (broadband services), although its mobile service received more than the industry average number of complaints for the first time in 2 years.

So, who is the best?

Well, that plaudit goes, once again, to O2. It held the position of least complained about mobile operator for the 11th quarter in a row with just 0.03 complaints per 1,000 customers.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

9 Ways to Stay Below Your Phone’s Data Cap

Keeping a check on mobile charges

Mobile phones are incredible these days, you can do almost anything on them. But, considering just about all contracts have limited data plans with them, they can also lead to hefty and unexpected bills if you get carried away.

Below are our 9 tips to help you stay below the data cap on your Android and iOS phones:

1. Monitor

Just about every phone allows you to monitor your usage. Take a look and see what functions are using the most data and think of different ways of using your phone.

2. App settings

iOS phones allow you to keep some apps off cellular data, forcing them to run only on WiFI. That way, you won’t be running up huge bills without realising it.

3. WiFi

Wherever possible use WiFi when surfing or using your apps. If you are a BT Broadband customer you will have access to their hotspots, so make the most of them.

4. Avoid streaming

When out and about don’t stream music or video on your phone. Wait until you’re on WiFi.

5. Cloud-storage

Cloud-storage apps, such as Dropbox, consume a lot of data, so only use them when on WiFi if at all possible.

6. App refresh

When using apps on your phone, many of them will refresh themselves, resulting in another huge gulp of data usage. By turning this function off, you’ll be reducing the data you consume considerably.

7. Set a cap

If you have an Android phone you can set your own cap on data usage by going to settings, data usage, set data limit.

8. Auto synch

There are some apps that will pull data and auto synch, which consume an alarming amount of data. By disabling this function you’ll save yourself a shed load of cash.

9. Auto updates

Many phones now allow apps to automatically download updates when they are available. Again, this can happen at any time and will eat into your data limit. Turn this off and manually update your apps when on WiFi.

These simple yet important 9 tips should help you gain greater control over your data consumptions and save you a lot of money.

MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

 

Have You Suffered From ‘Phone Bill Shock’?

We’ve all been there, haven’t we?Keeping a check on mobile charges

You merrily use your mobile, day in day out, without a care in the world. That is until a rather hefty bill lands on your desk.

What? How on earth did that happen? And what can  you do about it when it does?

The causes of Phone Bill Shock

Hands up if you actually think about the cost of your phone usage while using it?

You don’t, do you?

If you have to make a call, you do. If you need to browse the net on the go, you do. If you need to check your emails while you’re out, you do.

But the downloading of data (especially when traveling abroad) has been identified by Ofcom as one of the main causes of Phone Bill Shock.

Another contributory factor is the low levels of awareness about how users could get information about data charges from their providers. Therefore, Ofcom are now working with the mobile industry on a series of measures to address the issues.

Ofcom have also produced a couple of guides you may find useful:

Billing Problems

Review of unexpectedly high bills – findings and next steps

 

How Safe is the Data on Your Smartphone?

mobile phoneIn today’s day and age, we all shred important documents to minimise the risk of fraudsters getting hold of our personal data. But what about your smartphone?

Think for a moment about what is stored on it – your emails, bank account information, social networks and that’s just the tip of the ice berg. This wealth of personal information could potentially be swiped by malware (malicious software) or by someone physically stealing your phone.

Bet that’s got you thinking.

But they’ve got safeguards – haven’t they?

Sure, the iPhone has a ‘sandbox’ configuration making the OS pretty secure, but advances in malware means you should never rest on your laurels thinking your phone’s manufacturer has got everything covered.

As for Android phones, they are more closely related to PCs to, potentially, are an easy target for hackers.

And let’s face it, regardless of what magic software your phone contains to fend off would-be hackers, if it gets stolen, it’s game over.

Keeping your smartphone safe

A lot of advice about staying save is common-sense, but it never hurts to reiterate it:

  • Only download official apps from reputable dedicated app stores
  • Always check the areas of your phone you’re allowing the app to have access to (e.g. access to sending SMS messages shouldn’t always be needed, and can be exploited to rack up huge bills using premium rate numbers)
  • Regularly update your smartphone’s OS
  • Turn off your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth functions when you’re not using them

To stay extra safe,  you can also take the extra step of utilising a mobile security product such as Bullguard Mobile Security.

At the end of the day, keep your smartphone secure when out and about and be vigilant about what you download on to it. Remember, one phone can hold a lot of information about you – so make sure it stays safe.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

You Do Have Mobile Security, Right?

Back in January, we brought your attention to an article written by Dragon’s Dens’ very own James Caan about the importance of mobile phone security.

Mobile security is essential because without it, your smartphone and all the data it contains are at risk – and that means so are you.clip_image002

There are several security solutions out there, but for this post we’ll concentrate on just one – BullGuard Mobile Security 10.

Smartphones are superb tools for today’s busy lives. All the information you need is at your finger tips. Whether you use it for social media, shopping online, or doing your banking its openness to the internet means there’s always a door open to malware and hackers, leaving your passwords and personal data vulnerable to attack.

But it’s not just about stealing your personal data and potentially setting your phone to make calls or send thousands of messages to rack up your bill – what about your children? The smartphone has made the internet even more accessible to children and at a time when you’re probably not there to supervise them – so how do you keep them and your data safe?

Take charge with BullGuard

BullGuard Mobile Security comes with anti-malware protection, parental control, antitheft and backup solutions to keep you, your data and your children safe.

With total remote control over your smartphone you can relax knowing you and your children can remain safe from online threats.

It’s available for use with Windows Mobile, Android, Symbian or Windows Mobile and offers:

  • An online account to remotely access your smartphone
  • A mobile security manager to locate (via GPS), lock/unlock, wipe your phone, and edit the parental control module
  • State-of-the-art antivirus and antispyware features that work silently in the background
  • SIM card protection
  • 24/7 support

For more information about the BullGuard product, contact your local authorised reseller and make sure you stay safe.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.

Keep Your Mobile Safe

mobile phoneThey are everywhere these days.

Everyone from kids to Grannies are in love with their mobile phones. In fact, it’s hard to imagine how we used to cope without them (remember those days?).

Whether for business or personal use, most of us would be totally lost without our phones.

We came across an interesting article in the FSB Business Networking Magazine (December/January 2012) written by that famous Dragon, James Caan.

A fellow mobile phone addict, James talked about the dangers of using a personal mobile for work. As he states, unless it’s protected, you could be putting your business information at risk.

Just think for a moment about the information that’s contained on your mobile. If it’s lost, what would be the cost to your business?

Here are James’s top tips to keep your mobile devices (and their information) safe:

  1. Make sure your phone is in a secure pocket and your laptop always close to hand when you’re travelling
  2. Get a case for your phone so you can tell it apart from others
  3. When you’re using their mobiles on wireless networks when out and about, make sure they understand the dangers of wi-fi hotspots at airports, cafes etc.
  4. Never use your mobile or laptop desktop to store PINs or bank information
  5. Always password protect and encrypt your device, just in case you misplace it
  6. If your device is lost or stolen, act quickly

Thanks James – these are things that we should all be doing to keep our data safe.

Author: MPM Computer Consultancy provides IT Services, Support and Training to sole traders and small businesses in Ipswich. Bury St Edmunds and surrounding villages.