Holiday Tips from the Department of Homeland Security

minusminustext size

posted 12/20/2012 in News & Articles

The holiday season is upon us and electronics are at the top of many gifts being given.  We would like to share with you valuable tips provided by the Department of Homeland Security, to help protect your devices and information.

Personal Data and Your Mobile Device

It’s important to protect your smartphone or tablet just like your computer or laptop. The US Computer Emergency Readiness Team suggests some of the following tips:

  • Enable a lock on your device if available.
  • Keep software (apps and operating system) up to date.
  • Educate children, if you allow them to use your device.
  • Regularly back up the data on your device.

Free Smartphone Security Checker

The FCC has created a free tool for smartphones that provides tips and instructions to help consumers guard against security threats. In addition, the FCC is building a database to help deter the resale of stolen mobile devices. For more information on the Smartphone Security Checker, click here. To report a stolen mobile device, click here.

TSA Provides Tips for Traveling With Your Smartphone

Consumers should be extra mindful of their mobile devices while traveling. The Transportation Security Administration provides the following tips:

  • Ensure your operating system is up to date.
  • Be wary of performing sensitive transactions over unfamiliar Wi Fi hotspots. Perform these transactions over secure Wi Fi connections only.
  • Check to be sure your mobile device, as well as USB or other external storage devices, are secured and taken with you when moving from area to area.
  • Disable Bluetooth on your mobile device when not in use to deter unwanted connection attempts.
  • Avoid connecting your device to public computers or USB charging stations as these pose a risk of transmitting malicious software.

US Immigration and Customs Enforcement Warns Against Counterfeit Goods

In November, the USICE seized 132 domain names under which counterfeit merchandise was being sold to unsuspecting customers. The USICE suggests the following to help protect yourself when shopping online:

  • If a price seems too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Purchase from reputable sellers or websites. Does the merchant have a good history? Do they have a physical store you can contact for service?
  • Don’t purchase items advertised in a bulk or spam email, or from an anonymous seller.
  • Save copies of email receipts and other communications involved in the transaction.
  • Take a look at the website as a whole. Are there many misspellings, unusually low prices or no easy way to contact the merchant? These could be indications of a possible scam. 

Source: Department of Homeland Security, Stop.Think.Connect. December 2012 Newsletter