A Word to the Wise about Mobile Security

Mobile SecurityEvan as an advocate for safety and security, I recently had my own little run in with something I did wrong…combined with something I did right.

A couple of weeks ago I came into work on the weekend, so I took advantage of the street parking next to our building in the heart of Downtown Lafayette. It was a nice sunny day, so I left my window slightly cracked so my car wouldn’t be hot when I returned. I didn’t think anything of this action, I’ve always felt extremely (albeit naively) safe in Lafayette, it was broad daylight, and our Courthouse was in broad view only 50ft away –seriously, what could go wrong?

Low and behold I received a call from the Lafayette Police to notify me that someone from a local business saw four juveniles reach into my car and successfully pull my purse out of it. Some of my belongings were tossed onto my car windshield (apparently my business cards weren’t viewed as valuable –the nerve!), while an assortment of my belongings were scattered all around downtown –it was quite the scavenger hunt.  I was extremely fortunate to find my wallet about a block away (everything was still intact except for my pocket change), my checkbook was in the bushes nearby as well. Over by the bus stop the officer found my purse. Sadly I am still uncertain as to what else may be missing as a local business recently brought in my dental insurance card –something I had yet to notice as missing. One item that was missing that was not immediately recovered was my iPhone.

This is where the moral of my story comes in –it is ABSOLUTELY important essential that anybody who has a Smart-Phone set a passcode on it for security. 

If you don’t have a passcode on your phone then anybody who gains possession of it would have access to everything you’ve got stored on it. Phones can contain tremendous amounts of personal information. Lost or stolen devices can be used to gather information about you and. potentially, others. Protect your phone like you would your computer. With the endless apps that make our world convenient it is also opening up a world of convenience to a thief. I can’t express this enough for those of you who have access to work email on your phone –without a passcode lock on your phone you are giving someone else access to confidential information (not to mention the ability to send raunchy emails to your contacts “from you” should they be so inclined). Even if you don’t have access to your work email, but have a smart phone….LOCK IT!

If you have an iPhone I strongly encourage you to enable the Find my iPhone technology that it comes with and enable it –this brilliant piece of technology along with the amazing help of LPD is what allowed me to recover my phone.  At the time of the theft my phone was turned off so I couldn’t locate my iPhone –however I enabled the feature to “Notify me when iPhone is found.”  That night I was sent an alert with an exact address and map of where my iPhone was located, I called the officer who helped me out in the day, and she went to the house and retrieved it for me!  Now that is technology and law enforcement at its absolute finest!

While this whole ordeal was a royal pain, it ultimately all worked out well in the end –not to mention the fact that I was provided with the added bonus of the girl taking multiple pictures of herself, along with a couple of videos of her singing the Star Spangled Banner –mementos I will certainly treasure for a while.

So that said, I beg you to follow this advice to protect your personal information:
  1. LOCK YOUR PHONE!  If you have work email on your phone this really shouldn’t even be an option, consider it a MUST!
  2. If you do have an iPhone, be sure to utilize the Find my iPhone utility –it is absolutely brilliant and you never know when you might need it. Android users can take advantage of a similar service with the Where’s My Droid App.
  3. Don’t leave your windows cracked, not even slightly –neither daylight nor a nearby courthouse is enough to deter someone from a mischievous opportunity
Please take my advice and learn from my experience.

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net