Five Tips For Keeping Mobile Data Safe

1. Have a Security Plan And Follow It

All mobile phones and tablets used for business should be password-protected. Even better, use bio-metric authentication, such as a fingerprint or face scan, which cannot be replicated. Bio-metrics also make a strong password for apps.

Use a password manager to generate and store a different password for every account.

Know which data and apps are on a device and remove any apps that are not necessary for business. While the user may see a functioning app, like a flashlight or game, in the background, the program may be secretly sending information to a third party. Domingo Guerra, co-founder and president at mobile security firm Appthority, refers to these apps as “hospital gown” threats. The programs appear to be legitimate upfront and are even distributed in the major app stores, but they have a security gap in the back end. To be sure, only install apps from reputable developers and services, such as the Apple App Store and Google Play.

Be aware of who is around you when you’re on your phone. Restaurant table tops are a favorite place to snatch phones. If you carry a purse, keep your phone zipped inside when not in use, and be aware that many purses are snatched in hopes of getting a wallet and cell phone.

2. Practice Good WiFi & Charging Etiquette

That free WiFi at the coffee shop is tempting because it allows you to use data without tapping into your wireless plan. But in most cases, these networks are not secure, so it’s best to avoid when accessing accounts with sensitive information, such as your business email, transaction platform or financial accounts.

Additionally, public WiFi networks are open to “man in the middle” hacks, where a thief uses a portable device to fool you into logging onto a legitimate looking network, which can be used to intercept every piece of data coming to and from your device.

Be cautious about charging your devices at public USB ports. Data thieves can use these ports to place malware on your phone and harvest sensitive data.

3. Have A Plan When Things Go Wrong

Plan ahead for the loss or theft of a device, so you’ll be ready to quickly shut off access to your accounts and block the retrieval of sensitive data from your phone.

If you have an iPhone, set it to delete data after 10 incorrect attempts to enter the passcode.

Have the “find my phone” function activated so you can track your missing device.

Create a plan for quickly changing the passwords to your email accounts and any other accounts in which a thief could access financial or other sensitive information.

Finally, alert your wireless provider that your phone was stolen. The Federal Trade Commission recommends that you make this call as soon as you know your device is missing. Your phone company can permanently or temporarily disable the SIM card to stop someone from using the device for calls or the internet. It helps too if you have a record of your phone’s serial number or IMEI number (a unique identifier for your phone).

4. Keep Your Device Up-To-Date & Back Up Your Data

The major mobile phone makers such as Apple, Samsung and LG release operating system updates that provide protection against the latest malware threats. By keeping your device updated, you’ll increase your chances of staying safe.

When an agent’s entire business is run off their phone, it’s especially important to have it backed up often and preferably automatically. That way, if the phone goes missing, the agent can quickly transfer to a new device without an interruption in business.

Archive photos, videos and other irreplaceable data externally, such as in the cloud, which will free up space that your cellphone may require for upgrades.

5. Help Clients Protect Their Data

Data security is important for both agents and their clients. As you explain the buying or selling process to a client, use the opportunity to educate them about precautions they should be taking to keep their data safe.

A good place to start is the security of their email accounts. Research has shown that most people use weak or duplicate passwords on their personal accounts, which can be easily absconded through spoofing or social engineering, such as when a scammer poses as a trusted contact.

Many people do not realize that once a cyber criminal has their email username and password, the thief may be able to gain access to their other accounts through password reset requests.

While the dotloop platform does not require clients to enter financially sensitive information like credit card or social security numbers, dotloop takes data security and safety very seriously. Our security team maintains industry-standard safeguards against data incursions. Working through the platform, agents can be confident that their sensitive information will be safe from hackers and securely archived.

Lastly, dotloop customers own the data they put on the platform. This includes all customer data, from user information to transaction data. Dotloop doesn’t share it with other Zillow entities without an agent’s permission and won’t disclose customer information except as required by law. Check out our Data Privacy Guarantee to learn more.

Play it safe — use the industry’s secure end-to-end transaction solution, practice good password protection habits and “think before you app” to keep your most sensitive data protected.

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