Mobile Device Safety and Security Tips

This month's column is the result of collaboration with a colleague and friend. Det. Cindy Murphy of the Madison (Wisconsin) Police Department came up with these 10 tips for a PSA she participated in producing. With her permission, I'm reprinting and...

8.  Install and use virus and malware protection software on your mobile device, and make sure you keep it up to date.  This software will help to warn you if your device has been compromised. A good third-party source for software reviews is, which provides both editorial and consumer community ratings and reviews.

9.  Don’t click on links in emails or text messages unless you trust the sender and were expecting to receive a link from them. As with larger computers, malware, spyware and phishing attacks against mobile devices are often initiated by clicking on links.

The same goes for social networking sites. Here the “bad” links can be harder to spot because of the constant flow of information and the bad guys' adapting their language to seem less suspicious. Be alert for out-of-character posts from your friends or followers, including both public and private messages. If you think their account has been compromised, be a good friend and tell them.

10.  Be aware of the signs of potential compromise of your mobile device including decreased device performance, random functions, or calls, texts or emails to numbers and email addresses you don’t recognize.


Do mobile devices and social networking security take work? Absolutely. Fortunately, though, resources both online and off are available help you to research the right tools, use the right features on your device in the right way, and stay on top of changes as they occur.

Because of the intricacies of the software, firmware and hardware mix that make up the thing we call a “smart phone,” it’s imperative that you stay aware of all of the risk involved.  The risks are not simply immediate to your safety but are also hidden and potentially long term.  It’s unfortunately, but true, that in today’s modern world, “Officer Safety” isn’t just about defensive tactics and situational awareness anymore; it includes technology awareness and understanding as well.


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