October is Cybersecurity Awareness Month

Keeping you safer on the job and at home

Apple, Google, Samsung, Motorola, OnePlus, Huawei, LG and Sony are all releasing new smartphones with better cameras, faster processors and new software this fall....and with higher price tags, of course!


According to IDC, by the end of the year, nearly 500 million phones will be sold worldwide. 

If you're buying or selling a phone, here are some steps to protect your personal information, movies, music and other data on the device. 

Before parting with your old personal smartphone

Write down the phone’s serial number for your records

Back up everything to your computer, iCloud or Google Drive

On the phone, sign out of Google, iCloud, Facebook, iMessage, App stores

Remove the device from your Google account

Go to myaccount.google.com > Sign-in & Security > Device activity

Unpair a connected Apple Watch

Erase all content on the phone

iPhone: Go to Settings > General > Reset 

Android: Go to Settings > Reset > Factory Data Reset

Android: Deactivate “Factory Reset Protection”

Samsung: Remove the phone from your Samsung account

Apple: Remove the device from your Apple ID profile at appleid.apple.com

Samsung, HTC or Huawei phones: Remove the microSD storage card

Remove the phone’s SIM card 

Create the longest password possible

Set the device’s screen to lock automatically after a period of time

Set future software updates to install automatically

Turn off “automatic Wi-fi connection”

Enable the “Find my Phone” feature

Turn off Bluetooth and auto pay when not in use

Consider installing security software 

Android: options include Avast, BitDefender, McAfee, Sophos, Norton

iOS: options include Avast, McAfee, Lookout, Norton, Trend Micro

Turn on the phone’s default file backup system

Android: Go to Settings > System > Advanced > Backup

iOS: Go to Settings > Your name > Your device > iCloud backup

iPhone: Turn on USB Restricted mode

Go to Settings > Touch ID > USB Accessories

Put your email address or alternate phone number on the phone’s lock screen

Android: Go to Settings > Security & Location > Screen Lock > Lock screen message

iOS: Go to the Health app > Medical ID > Add emergency contact

Setting up your new personal smartphone

Click here to download 

and print these steps to protecting your personal information when you buy or sell a smartphone.

Smartphone Smarts _ Aware Force.001.jpeg

Sources: Sophos, Wired, CNET,

AT&T, TechCrunch 

Facebook says at least 50 million users’ accounts have been hacked, allowing fraudsters to take over and impersonate the owners of the accounts. While an investigation has just begun, Facebook says it has fixed the problem and is requiring affected users to log back in to their accounts as a solution.  

Gmail users: think twice before adding an app to your account. The Wall Street Journal reports third party developers can read your emails as long as the developer adheres to Google's privacy policy. 

Are you considering freezing your credit accounts to protect yourself from ID fraud? Consumer Reports says, in addition to the three large credit bureaus (TransUnion, Experian, Equifax), you should also freeze your credit at the National Consumer Telecommunications and Utilities Exchange (NCTUE), which handles many cellphone and utility accounts. 

In the upcoming edition of Aware Force:
Amazing cyber security facts that will change the way you surf the web.

Cartoon: Tom Cheney/The New Yorker Collection/The Cartoon Bank

October 2018 a • Edition #55

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Aware Force trademark © 2018 Aware Force LLC