Dear Joanna

When I am at home or on vacation, I login to my work email on my phone or laptop at home. Our IT department required all employees to complete a training on  how to block different types of attackers and hackers on my work computer. Now I’m curious as to how I can  protect myself from phishing and other hacker activities on my smartphone?

Signed: Stop the Hackers

Dear SH,

Don’t let your guard down just because you’re on a mobile device. Be just as careful as you would on a desktop! I consulted with our amazing Reena IT Team as well as this training website that all Reena employees are required to attend The experts presented 20 ways to block mobile attacks in order to ensure  a safe and secure computer experience on all devices. I will share six (6) techniques that I consider the most important:

  1. Wi-Fi. Don’t allow your device to auto-join unfamiliar networks. Always turn off your WiFi when you aren’t using it. Never ever send sensitive or confidential information over WiFi including your SIN, bank account, credit card and related. Unless you are absolutely sure the WiFi is from a secure network, I would never buy anything online on my phone or other devices.
  2. Browser. Watch out for ads, giveaways and contests that seem too good to be true. Often these lead to phishing sites that appear to be legitimate. Pay close attention to URLs. These are harder to verify on mobile screens but it’s worth the effort.  Never save your login information when you’re using a web browser.
  3. Bluetooth. Disable automatic Bluetooth pairing. Always turn it off when you don’t need it.
  4. Vishing (voice phishing). Do not respond to telephone or email requests for personal financial information. If you are concerned, call the financial institution directly, using the phone number that appears on the back of your credit card or on your monthly  statement.  Never click on a link in an unsolicited commercial  email. Never pick up the phone call without caller ID or from an unrecognized phone number. Let the person leave a voicemail which is a great way to see if the caller is legitimate. Speak only with live people when providing account information, and only when you initiate the call. Install software that can tell you whether you are     on a secure or fake website.
  5. Smishing (phishing via SMS). Don’t trust messages that attempt to get you to     reveal any personal information. Beware of similar tactics in platforms like What’s App, Facebook Messenger Instagram, etc. Treat messages the same way you would treat email –  always think before you click!
  6. Apps. Only use apps available in your device’s official store – NEVER download from a browser. Be wary of apps from unknown developers or those with limited/bad reviews.  Keep them updated to ensure they have the   latest security.  If they’re no longer supported by your store,     just delete! Don’t trust messages that attempt to get you to  reveal any personal information.

To submit your challenges, concerns, questions and comments regarding this column and/or your job search IN CONFIDENCE, please email Joanna Samuels, Employment Resource Supervisor, Reena –