Safe use of mobile phones

Mobile phones and smartphones are sophisticated devices, and it is important to maintain their information security. Being aware of possible threats makes it easier to combat hoaxes and scams.

Different scams are the most typical threats that mobile and smartphone users may encounter. Scams aim to lure users into calling a service number subject to a charge or ordering an expensive service via text message.

A mobile phone is a poor means of sending sensitive information. The technology used in GSM/2G networks is becoming outdated and the encryption methods used can be cracked under certain conditions.

Protecting a mobile phone

  • Keep your phone secure. Security features make the unauthorised use of your phone more difficult if it is stolen or gets lost.
  • Set your mobile phone to use the safer 3G network whenever you are within the 3G coverage area.
  • Set a PIN code for your SIM card and a security code for the phone.
  • Change all the default codes and passwords when you start using a new mobile phone.
  • Consider encrypting the data on your phone if your phone supports encryption.
  • Be careful when using the wireless technologies of your mobile phone. Turn off Bluetooth and internet connections when you are not using them.
  • Get to know the security settings of your mobile phone by reading the user manual.
  • Malware infecting smartphones is still rather rare. You can protect your mobile phone against malware by installing the latest updates and downloading software only from reliable sources.
  • A firewall and anti-virus software may provide the necessary extra protection for a smartphone.
  • If you use a voicemail service, remember to change the default PIN code. You may also want to consider disabling direct access to your voicemail.
  • Be sceptical of any calls or contacts from unknown telephone numbers.
  • If you receive an unusually large invoice or believe you have fallen victim of unauthorised use, contact your service provider's customer service immediately.
  • Think carefully before lending your phone to a stranger.

Balance limit and call barring services provided by service providers

  • Balance limit and call barring services provided by service providers• Enable your service provider's barring services that block calls to numbers subject to a charge and, when necessary, set a balance limit for your mobile subscription.
  • Be careful with your internet connection when travelling abroad. Even a short web access may run up a huge bill. Many mobile phones have a setting that allows you to block internet access in all networks abroad.

Read more about balance limits

Mobile phone use when abroad

Recycling a mobile phone

  • Before selling or recycling your mobile phone, remove or format its memory card, if it has one.
  • Restore your mobile phone to its factory settings. Keep in mind that restoring factory settings may not necessarily delete all the data on the phone. You will reach the highest level of security if the data on your phone has been encrypted and you delete the security code needed for the decryption.

Key words: Information security , Telephone , Data protection , Mobile phones

Updated 02.10.2013

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The Finnish Communications Regulatory Authority (FICORA)

The National Cyber Security Centre Finland (NCSC-FI)

Itämerenkatu 3 A

P.O. Box 313

FI-00180 HELSINKI


Media contacts by telephone +358 295 390 248