Better Business Bureau: How to keep your smartphone, data safe

  • In the past week, four major brands reported they've been affected by data breaches. The BBB provides tips on how to stay safe.

    In the past week, four major brands reported they've been affected by data breaches. The BBB provides tips on how to stay safe.

 
Daily Herald Report
Updated 4/4/2018 3:20 PM

In the past week alone, four major brands have reported data breaches jeopardizing private information for millions of consumers.

Only days ago, Under Armour Inc. announced its MyFitnessPal app had been breached, and that information on its 150 million users had been accessed by an unknown entity. Saks and Lord and Taylor announced hackers had used cash register software to obtain data from store customers. And Panerabread.com, the website for the American chain of bakery-café restaurants, confirmed millions of customer records had been leaked over at least eight months.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

In all cases, personal information of millions of customers was leaked, including anything from names and email or physical addresses to passwords and credit card numbers. All companies have said they are investigating the breaches.

How can you protect your private information? In the wake of this alarming slew of data breaches, the Better Business Bureau is urging consumers to take action now.

In addition to the slew of data breaches, scammers have developed a new sophisticated phishing technique referred to as "tabnabbing" in which scammers are able to infiltrate websites when users have multiple tabs open on their computers or devices.

Here are some tips to safeguard your smartphone and its data:

• Password-protect your smartphone, and consider additional security options such as fingerprint security.

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• Use unique passwords for each site or app you use.

• Reconsider if it's really worth 10 percent off a store purchase to open an additional credit card.

• Invest in security software for your phone (similar to anti-malware and virus protection on your computer)

• Download updates frequently to make sure any known bugs are fixed promptly and that you have the latest security updates.

• Turn off services when you are not using them. Wi-Fi, GPS, Bluetooth, etc. are all ways that hackers can get into your phone. You can also save on battery life.

• Store important information elsewhere. Passwords and other sensitive information should never be stored on your phone.

• If you connect digitally in a rented vehicle, be sure to erase your tracks before you return the car. Ask for help if you do not know how to do it.

Additional information is available at BBB.org/IdentityTheft and BBB.org/Passwords.

"Protecting consumers and businesses against scammers abusing technology and the internet to steal money and identities is at the core of our mission and has never been more prevalent," said Steve Bernas, president and CEO of Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois. "We always urge consumers to be alert and vigilant, but now more than ever, it's of utmost importance," he added.

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