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GLOBAL – The arrival of smartphones means you’re not just making phone calls from your Nokia device. You’re also tweeting, emailing, facebooking, shopping and blogging. That’s all great, but it also means that losing your mobile device, or having it stolen, can be as much of a security hazard as losing your laptop or your wallet. Join us below, to learn about the first line of defence against unauthorised users.

Set up a lock code

Do this as soon as possible after you get your new phone. The setting is buried away a little, but only needs doing once.

Go into Settings. Then Phone->Phone management. Lastly, choose the Security settings option and Phone and SIM card under that. Everything you need is on this screen.



The setting you want to change is Lock code. If you tap on this to change it, you can input a numeric code into the screen that follows. We recommend you choose a short code that you’ll easily remember: not as simple as 1234, but maybe your birth year or your house number. Unless you’re a spy or a likely target of industrial espionage, thieves won’t bother trying to hack your device.

From this point, you can lock your phone either on a timed basis, using the ‘Phone autolock period’ or with a short tap on the power button and then choosing ‘Lock phone’.

If you do forget the code, then there’s no simple work-round – that would defeat the purpose. It will have to go in for servicing.



What thieves probably will try is swapping out your SIM card for a pre-pay one. Foil their plans by changing the ‘Lock if SIM card changed’ setting to ‘yes’.

Lastly, switch on ‘Remote phone locking’. This lets you lock your phone by sending it a text message you define on the following screen from another device. If you discover your phone has gone missing, then you can do this to make sure crooks aren’t running up a massive bill for you in calls to paid competition lines. This is a really great new feature on the new Symbian devices and was previously only available on Eseries devices or using third-party software.

A word about WiFi

If you connect to WiFi, then be sure you know you can trust the network access point to which you’re connecting. As highlighted in a recent BBC blog post, it’s possible for dishonest people to set up rogue access points that scan and store every bit of data that passes between your device and the Internet. There are tools that will quickly uncover email and social network passwords, for example. This is an issue that affects all manufacturer’s smartphones and laptops – anything that can connect to a WiFi hotspot.

Like many IT security hazards, the only real cure is smarter users. Don’t set your device to connect to ‘anything it can’. Fortunately, Nokia devices won’t do this unless you explicitly tell them to or inadvertently set up a rogue network as a Destination. If you’re at a cafe or meeting place, ask the owner for the name of the WiFi network – just because a network is called ‘Free Secure WiFi’ doesn’t mean that it’s actually safe. Assess every new network you connect to as a potential risk.

Business users might want to look into the Nokia MobileVPN client available for ESeries and now Symbian^3 devices – you’ll need your IT department’s assistance with this, though. You might also want to look at F-Secure’s Anti Theft for Mobile, allowing for remote data wiping and location finding. Both these solutions will come pre-installed on the forthcoming Nokia E7.

How far have you gone with your device’s security settings? Let us know.

image credit: squacco

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