What to do if your phone is stolen

Intro

Mobile devices are commonly used to communicate and search for information. As a result, they do often contain personal data like emails, text messages, voicemail messages, calendars, locations, pictures and films. If by any chance a device is lost or stolen, anyone may potentially get access to all of the previously mentioned data which may put you, your colleges or employers to a serious risk. In this article you will find some steps which are to follow in order to protect your personal data in case of theft or loss. Please be aware that the following instructions should be applied only to personal devices (not the ones which were given to you by your employer). In case of a company device you should proceed accordingly to your company’s policy.

 

Precautions

One of the most effective ways to protect your data is to start securing it while it is still in your possession. You should begin by activating either a PIN number or a password  which will be required every time you want to unlock your phone. That way you are sure that only authorized people have access to your data.

PIN (Personal Identification Number) is a number which you need to put in in order to get access to the mobile device.Hard Reset your device

Password – it works just like a password to a computer or Internet account. You can activate it so that it is requested every time you wish to unlock your phone. The more difficult the password is (e.g. a lot of numbers, small and big letters) the harder it will be to get access to your device.HardReset your device

You should definitely consider the option to completely delete all data after a certain amount of failed attempts to access the device. This feature may protect your phone if it falls into the wrong hands. However, if you enable this option, remember to be cautious – do not let the kids play with. Otherwise, you may end up with a default device and without your precious data. Make sure not to reveal your chosen authentication method to anyone who you do not trust. You should also remember to always make the PIN/Password as difficult and hard to get as possible. 

Remote tracking & deleting: Most of the mobile devices have operating systems which allow you to remotely locate and/or delete data on a lost device. You will probably need to install and configure a special application like “Find My iPhone”.Factory Reset your device

Encrypting: If you have an access to your mobile device, you may also try some more advanced solutions that do not require a PIN or password to get to your data. Encrypting protects your personal data from more “professional” attacks. Some of the devices have the encryption already in them, some however require either switching on or installing. iPhones and iPads have the encryption which is turned on in the default settings.

Backing Up the device: The Backup allows you to quickly restore all the information located on lost/stolen phone. Backups should be performed regularly. In order to back up your device use one of the following methods:

  1. Archive directly on your computer.
  2. iCloud – free feature available for all Apple devices; you may back up your contacts, messages, emails, calendars, pictures, music and many more by sending it to your iCloud account.Master Reset your device
  3. Google Cloud – free feature which allows you to back up your Android device (functions similar to iCloud).

 

Blocking iPhones and iPads

The users of Apple device have had the access to these options for a few years before the Android made them as well. The feature “Find my iPhone” is responsible for locating and blocking lost/stolen devices. It needs to be connected to the iCloud account. In order to turn it on, you have to activate it in the iCloud settings.Wipe data on your device

By using iCloud or your mobile application you are able to turn on the sound, update the current location, track the changes of the location, block the device (+ enable a certain message to be seen on the screen) and remotely delete all data. The newest Apple devices allow you to use a wallet option. Apple Pay (which is unfortunately not yet available everywhere) is an application which stores the details of your credit/debit cards on your device (for example in order to use them to pay in shops).  You may remotely delete only those details without having to perform a full factory reset.Format your device

Unlike the Google devices, Apple allows you to completely prevent from anyone using your device ever again.  In order to activate lost/stolen device which has been remotely controlled, someone would have to put in your Apple ID and your password. Selling the stolen device is extremely difficult in that case.

By Sebastian on Feb 18, 2016