blackberry_protectEmails, contacts, appointments, tunes, photos – if you are like most BlackBerry® smartphone owners you keep your life on your smartphone. And that information is vulnerable if you do not lock it up safe.

How real is the danger? Consider this scenario: There is a man who lost his BlackBerry smartphone in the Gautrain on his way to the airport. No password and plenty of private information available on his device. Fortunately his company’s IT department remotely wiped the data before any harm was done and the data is safe.

Luckily every BlackBerry smartphone includes many easy-to-use security features that go a long way toward protecting your private information from prying eyes.

To get that protection, follow the checklist below.

Secure your BlackBerry smartphone and its data

Use a strong password.

Setting a strong password is the single easiest and most effective way to lock down your private data. Without a password, much of your data is accessible to prying eyes. With a password, you are far more secure.

Passwords:
• Must be 4 – 14 characters in length
• Cannot be identical characters (1111) or sequences (1234)

Set your password:

For BlackBerry 5 OS:
1. On the Home screen or in a folder, click the Options icon.
2. Click Password.
3. Change the Password field to Enabled.
4. Press the Menu key.
5. Click Save.
6. Type the new password, and click Enter.
7. Type the new password again, and click Enter.

For BlackBerry 6 OS:
1. On the Home screen or in a folder, click the Options icon.
2. Click Security
3. Click Password.
4. Change the Password field to Enabled.
5. Press the Menu key.
6. Click Save.
7. Type the new password, and click Enter.
8. Type the new password again, and click Enter.

Set the number of password attempts

If a password is typed incorrectly 10 consecutive times, all of the information on the BlackBerry smartphone is automatically deleted. This is a security feature.

You can change the number of attempts to 3 – 10:

For BlackBerry 5 OS:
1. On the Home screen or in a folder, click the Options icon.
2. Click Password.
3. Set the Number of Password Attempts field.
4. Press the Menu key.
5. Click Save.

For BlackBerry 6 OS:
1. On the Home screen or in a folder, click the Options icon.
2. Click Security.
3. Click Password.
4. Set the Number of Password Attempts field.
5. Press the Menu key.
6. Click Save.

Lock your phone automatically after a certain amount of time

You should set the Security Timeout feature to automatically lock your BlackBerry smartphone after a set amount of inactivity (maximum is one hour). For lost or stolen smartphones, this is a critical security block.

Follow these steps:For BlackBerry 5 OS:
1. On the Home screen or in a folder, click the Options icon.
2. Click Password.
3. Set the value in the Security Timeout field to the amount of inactive time you want to permit your BlackBerry smartphone before it automatically locks.
4. Press the Menu key.
5. Click Save.

For BlackBerry 6 OS:
1. On the Home screen or in a folder, click the Options icon.
2. Click Security.
3. Click Password.
4. Set the value in the Security Timeout field to the amount of inactive time you want to permit your BlackBerry smartphone before it automatically locks.
5. Press the Menu key.
6. Click Save.


Encrypt data on your BlackBerry smartphone and media card

It is also smart to encrypt all data on your BlackBerry smartphone and your media card. Encryption mixes everything up so no one but you can read anything without the correct password.

1. On the Home screen or in a folder, click the Options icon.
2. Click Security Options.
3. Click Encryption.
4. Change the Encryption field to Enabled.
5. To encrypt data in the device memory, set the Device Memory field to Enabled.
6. To encrypt files stored on a media card and on your device, set the Media Card field to Enabled and perform one of the following actions:
o To encrypt files using an encryption key that your device generates, change the Mode field to Device Key.
o To encrypt files using your device password, change the Mode field to Device Password.
o To encrypt files using an encryption key and your device password, change the Mode field to Device Password & Device Key.
7. To also encrypt media files such as pictures, songs, and videos, set the Include Media Files field to Yes.
8. Press the Menu key.
9. Click Save.

Lockdown Bluetooth®

Bluetooth is a terrific way to connect to other devices for hands-free talking or even to play music wirelessly. But Bluetooth also adds a potential entry for malicious hackers. Luckily changing a simple setting can block most threats.

The key is to make your BlackBerry smartphone not discoverable, or visible, to other Bluetooth devices:

1. On the Home screen, click the Manage Connections icon.
2. Click Bluetooth Options.
3. Press the Menu key.
4. Click Options.
5. Set the Discoverable field to No.
6. Press the Menu key.
7. Click Save.

Note: Temporarily reset this setting back to Yes when you wish to allow a new Bluetooth device to connect with your BlackBerry smartphone.

Download BlackBerry Protect from BlackBerry App World

BlackBerry® Protect is a free application available from BlackBerry App WorldTM that allows you to wirelessly backup, restore and locate you BlackBerry smartphone.

If your BlackBerry smartphone is lost or stolen, BlackBerry Protect allows you to remotely wipe or lock the device, view a ‘Lost and Found’ screen, locate your device on a map, remotely activate the BlackBerry smartphone loud ringer, and wirelessly backup and restore your device.

BlackBerry Protect open beta is available for download in BlackBerry App World Test Center (www.blackberry.com/appworld). If you are interested in finding out more about BlackBerry Protect visit www.blackberry.com/protect.

More security features and options

Just by following the checklist above your personal data will be locked down like a safe. But your BlackBerry smartphone protects your data in other ways too. Here are some examples:

• The anti-spam system helps block spam emails sent to your smartphone.
• Secure browsing to shopping and banking sites using SSL encryption.
• Attachments are rendered into safe formats to help protect you from malicious code.
• Applications received in email cannot run on your BlackBerry smartphone.
• By default your BlackBerry smartphone continually removes sensitive data from temporary memory.

 

Contributed by:
RIM South Africa

The BlackBerry and RIM families of related marks, images and symbols are the exclusive properties and trademarks of Research In Motion Limited.

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