9OYS Crime Watch
Protecting your smartphone from thieves
Reporter: Cory Marshall
TUCSON (KGUN9-TV) - We use our smartphone for just about everything these days -- part of the dependency surrounds the promise that there's an app for just about everything.
"I've seen there social security information stored on their phones," Robert Nissenbaum, owner of Blue Ridge Wireless.
Thieves not only want smartphones, they want the personal information on them.
According to Tucson Police, smartphone thefts follow a cyclical trend. Sgt. Matthew Dietzman says anytime the "latest and greatest" smartphone comes out, break-ins and burglaries pick-up.
"We usually see a small increase around that time and then it tends to taper off until the newer phones come out," Dietzman said.
Most recently, wireless retail stores saw the brunt of it. Since then, stores have ramped up security, but the everyday smartphone user is not taking note.
Tucson technology forensic expert, Scott Green recommends users download apps that wipe your phone remotely. Meaning, if it's stolen, you can log onto a computer and erase all information. Popular storage apps include, Box and Dropbox.
Nissenbaum suggests users password protect their smartphones using either a pin or a pattern lock.
"If the phone is locked in the first place, and I can't get into it doesn't matter what data is [there]," Nissenbaum said.
Simple passwords will not suffice, according to Nissenbaum. He says a lot of people pick the common passwords that are easy to remember, but if it's too easy, chances are it will be easy for a thief to hack into.
Nissenbaum also recommends, if your phone has one, to avoid saving any information on external memory cards as they're easy to access.
He says in most cases the best advice is to not put personal information on your phone in the first place.