The Federal Communications Commission Tuesday made a free online tool available to smartphone users to make them smarter when it comes to security on their devices.
A Smartphone Security Checker for users of Apple's iOS, Google Android, BlackBerry and Windows phones takes consumers through a 10-step security checklist tailored to their smartphone's operating system.
"With less than half of smartphone owners using passwords to protect their devices, this new tool will be of particular value to millions of Americans," said FCC chairman Julius Genachowski in a statement.
With nearly half of Americans now owning a smartphone, nearly 20 percent have been the victim of mobile cybercrime — including phishing attempts for your personal and financial information — the FCC estimates.
Among the steps you can take by using the checker:
- Set PINs and passwords.
- Download security apps to enable remote locating and data wiping.
- Back up the data on your phone if it's lost or stolen.
- Wipe the data on your old phone before donating, reselling or recycling it.
- Learn to safely use public Wi-Fi networks.
- Find out what you need to do if your phone is stolen.
The FCC worked together with the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Trade Commission, CTIA wireless trade organization, National Cyber Security Alliance and mobile security companies Lookout, Sophos and others to develop the checklist.