How clean is your phone?

iPhone waiting for a "Siri" voice commandIt’s with us up to 24 hours a day but have you ever given any thought to mobile phone hygiene?

Just think about everything you touch during the course of an average day, keys, door handles, keyboards, pens, credit/debit cards, cash and so on. How many other people have touched those things? How hygienic are they?

Have you ever checked your phone in a bathroom or public toilet? Don’t worry, you’re not alone if you have, apparently most people have checked their phone in a bathroom which goes some way towards explaining why 1 in 6 phones have faecal matter on them.

Green Bacteria possibly from a dirty mobile phoneAccording to research, the average mobile phone has 18x more harmful bacteria than the handle on the door of a public toilet.

Se we go to the loo and then use our phone and pop it into our pocket or handbag, somewhere that’s nice and warm, in other words an ideal breeding ground for bacteria.

A little later, we take our phone out of it’s bacterial breeding ground and hold it to our face to use it. Some of the bacteria transfer to our hands, some to our face where it can cause acne, some of the bacteria is now on our hands so we can transfer it to others when we shake hands, touch money or other door handles

Because few of us bother to really clean our phones (wiping the screen doesn’t count) the germs keep building up and they include E-Coli (great for upset tums), influenza and MRSA (causes rashes and skin infections)

So, the next time you have a spot or rash on your face or go down with an upset tummy or the flu, don’t look at who you’ve been in contact recently, take a long hard look at your mobile phone

So, what should we do? Well, you can buy anti-bacterial wipes specifically designed for electronic devices, or you could use standard rubbing alcohol and a soft cloth or paper towel. Use cotton buds to get in to those nooks and crannies and, finally, don’t forget to take your cover off and clean that too.

Got Stagefright? You probably have if you own an Android phone

Android Robot logoIf you have a SmartPhone and it’s not an iPhone, not a Windows Phone and not a Blackberry then you probably do, and this puts you at serious risk.

Simply put, using a flaw that’s been called “StageFright” hackers could easily steal contact information, personal details, track your location and install malicious apps without your knowledge.

All they have to do is send you an infected MMS, effectively a text message with a picture, and just receiving the message is enough to infect your phone.

Security provider, Lookout, has developed a free test that will check whether your phone is at risk, there are probably other tests but I use, and trust, Lookout which is why I’ve made this recommendation.

If you are vulnerable, Lookout will advise you as to how you can minimise the risk, but you can do this without running the test, if you wish.

Open your Text Message App, go to “Settings” and disable “Auto Retrieve”. You might have to do the same for Google Hangouts and Facebook Messenger too, if you use them.

Now, Google is working hard on a fix but it’s not going to be rolled out for a little while due to a whole range of complexities”