Cybercriminals exploit multiple access points to get into a company’s systems for the purpose of stealing data or – in the case of title insurance companies – monitoring upcoming transactions with the intent to commit wire fraud.
One of the most vulnerable entry points may be the ubiquitous cellphone.
As you review your security plans each year, add employee cellphone security to that list. Many companies require employees to have separate work phones and personal phones to mitigate against cyberattacks by limiting usage of the company cellphone. But whether your title agency employees are using a personal phone or company phone in their day-to-day work, consider adding an annual cellphone security review to your list of protocols.
Here are some basic measures you can put in place.
Use strong passwords
This is a no-brainer and an oft repeated refrain, but employees should protect their device with a password that is complex, and the device should be set to lock automatically after five minutes. Also consider multi-factor authentication or biometrics for additional security.
Update phone software and applications
Phone software updates are critical, as they often include improved security features. Phone companies are constantly monitoring cybercrime tactics for the purpose of strengthening their defenses and taking advantage of these updates improves both security and functionality.
Install antivirus software
Anti-virus applications should be mandatory, as they can block unknown callers, highlight unsafe apps, clear browsing history and delete cookies. You should review the best software for your needs, but Avira Security for Android, Bitdefender Mobile Security, AVG Antivirus for Android, and Sophos Intercept for Mobile are top recommendations for Android, and TotalAV, Norton 360, Bitdefender Antivirus and Avira are best picks for iPhones.
Encrypt your data
For all work-related voice, text and data sharing, make sure you are working only through encrypted applications.
Turn stuff off
When not in use, turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, as well as location services. These are all pathways into your phone that are easy to stymie just by rendering them inactive as often as possible.
Be judicious in selecting applications
Research applications before installing to make sure they are from legitimate providers.
Don’t click on that link
Title and escrow agents are sending and receiving documents all the time. Be wary of clicking on links or opening attachments that are not coming to you from legitimate sources or through approved applications.
Avoid connecting to public networks
Oh, how we love our coffee shop Wi-Fi! But unless you have access to a virtual public network (VPN) and are working exclusively through the VPN. Logging into your VPN even through an unsecured Wi-Fi can provide you with some security protections, making your IP address and search history invisible to the fraudsters.
A fundamental focus of your work as a title agent is to protect your clients’ personally identifiable information (PII). The advent of the Internet and the growing reliance on technology over the past two decades has made it exponentially harder to do that. But do it we must, and a key component is ongoing employee education.
Finally, some people find the “Notes” folders of their smart phones to be a convenient place to store their passwords. Unfortunately, those are conveniently available to cybercriminals, too. Similarly, take advantage of the protected passwords settings—even if you’ve already leveraged the use of biometrics or encryption. Remember, the bad guys are always evolving as well.
If you need a hand-out for your staff to help them get started on securing their phones, use this helpful chart from the National Security Agency to act as a guide.
At Premier Data Services, we are dedicated to keeping you abreast of the latest trends that may have an impact on how you conduct your title insurance, escrow and closing practices. Contact us today to see how we can help with every aspect of your business, including your security needs.