The biggest threat mobile consumers face may be the phone they carry in their pockets.

By Mark Leary, chief information security officer, Xerox

Due to the increasing number of transactions originating from mobile devices, retailers and consumers face an increased risk from fraudsters who target these types of devices.

Mobile Security TipsSmartphones often contain banking data, contact information, work and personal email accounts, and family photos, making them a “wonderful target” for hackers.

Lesson No. 1: Always set a password on your home screen.  If you don’t have a password, you are enabling anyone to access your information if your phone is lost.

Mobile users typically store their credit card information rather than entering the information during each transaction.  This makes online retail account takeovers more profitable, and more attractive to fraudsters. All of these lessons are valuable for PC users, too.

Lesson No. 2: Never store your credit card information online.  Take the extra time to enter this information for each website.

Lesson No. 3: Never use the same password, always use multiple passwords. Using the same password initiates a trail of destruction that is equivalent to unlocking every door in your house, easily allowing criminals to hack numerous accounts at once.

Lesson No. 4: Always update your smartphone by running security software updates.

Links to More Information

Microsoft Safety & Security Center: Practical security tips for you and your family, useful resources and links, and a forum for you to provide feedback and ask security-related questions.

StaySafeOnline.org: From the National Cyber Security Alliance, which seeks to educate a digital society to use the Internet safely and securely at home, work and school.

Stop. Think. Connect: A national public awareness campaign sponsored by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. The campaign seeks to help the American public understand cyber threats, and empower the public to be safer and more secure online.