FCC Launches Smartphone Security Initiative

The Christmas season is upon us, and Santa’s sleigh is stocked up with smartphones; it’s estimated that more than 20 million Americans will be gifted (or gift themselves) with a new iPhone, Android, or other smartphone this Christmas. Now, I ask you: what’s the first thing they’ll do when they turn those new smartphones on?

Chances are, you didn’t answer that with anything related to “security.” That’s boring. Making a call, sending a text, downloading an app, playing a game, trying to get funny answers from Siri—these are just a few of the things we’d rather do than muddle with smartphone security. Most smartphone users admit they wouldn’t even know how to begin protecting their devices. Add to that the exponential increase of mobile security threats (a whopping 367% increase in 2011 alone!) and you’ll see that something needs to change.

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has taken an important step towards correcting that. As of December 17th, the FCC website is home to a Smartphone Security Checker that helps the average user to determine whether their smartphone’s contents are safe and provides step-by-step instructions for further securing it. These steps include setting PINs and Passwords, backing up data, setting up remote location/wiping, reporting theft, and WiFi safety tips, all customized for the four major smartphone operating systems (Android, Apple iOS, Blackberry, and Windows Phone).

To use the Smartphone Security Checker, visit http://www.fcc.gov/smartphone-security and select your operating system. This will generate your custom instructions with breakdowns of each step and helpful links.

If you’re giving the gift of a smartphone this Christmas, give the gift of security, too. Print out the checklist or text the link to it—you’ll be doing them a huge favor, and it won’t cost you a thing!


Brent Urmey is an avid reader and writer on a variety of subjects, including social media, SEO, the Wireless industry, and life in Lancaster County, PA. He is a graduate of Drexel University and a survivor of the 2012 Mayan Apocalypse. You can connect with Brent on Google +.