How To Keep Your Smartphone Secure

In light of all the snooping by the government on individuals, it seems that it's not that difficult for anyone with the know-how to find out what you're doing. Bill Supernor, CTO of security company Koolspan, speaks to Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon about how to keep your smartphone safe.

Copyright © 2013 NPR. For personal, noncommercial use only. See Terms of Use. For other uses, prior permission required.

BILL SUPERNOR: I was in a business lounge at an airport in Newark. I look at my phone and I'm moving the buttons and it was definitely behaving a little strange, maybe it was a little slow. I ripped the back off the phone, I pulled the battery out. I mean, I got off the network quickly and I didn't turn the phone back on again until I was out of that airport.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Bill Supernor is the chief technology officer with Koolspan. That's a mobile phone security company. Snooping and hacking on a lot of people's minds, we reached out to him to find out what you can do to keep your phone secure. First, how vulnerable are our phones?

SUPERNOR: The BlackBerry's traditionally an enterprise phone and enterprise wants security and so that's what they've built in from the ground up. On the Apple side, they're striving for a really, really highly controlled and good user experience and so they've made it very difficult to put in bad apps. And on Android, they're taking a different path, and that is to make their device as open as possible, giving rise, dare I say it, to more creativity, but at the same time, you know, that can leave the door open to creative attacks as well.

SIMON: So what should you do?

SUPERNOR: Use a password on your phone. There's a number of different phones that have such a feature where if you fail your password ten times in a row, it'll either completely lock and disable the phone or it'll even go so far as to, you know, do the self-destruct and delete all of your data.

SIMON: So what shouldn't you do?

SUPERNOR: You should never assume your text messages are secure. Never. It's an easy place to hack. I never send credit card numbers or social security numbers or important private information over SMS.

SIMON: What about online shopping?

SUPERNOR: Look for the little lock icon. Look for indications that your connection with the place where you're about to type in your credit card number is in fact secure. Well, eBay has its own app and all these retailers are coming out with their own app. Not the Web anymore, or it's not a Web browser anymore. There is no little lock icon.

And also, look out for things like Amazon's one click and, you know, other types of apps that let people make purchases without hitting any buttons beyond buy now.

SIMON: Bill Supernor, chief technology officer with the mobile security company, Koolspan with security tips for your phone. And tomorrow, Rachel Martin speaks with NPR's Steve Henn about the ways that parents and kids can protect their privacy online. Plus the latest news on NPR's WEEKEND EDITION SUNDAY.

We know you're listening to NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)

Copyright © 2013 NPR. All rights reserved. No quotes from the materials contained herein may be used in any media without attribution to NPR. This transcript is provided for personal, noncommercial use only, pursuant to our Terms of Use. Any other use requires NPR's prior permission. Visit our permissions page for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR's programming is the audio.

Comments

 

Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.