Posted by Kim Sanchez, director, Trustworthy Computing Communications, Microsoft

Chances are you have your mobile phone with you right now. These devices allow us to keep pace with the demands of our busy digital lifestyles. They also allow us to tell everyone, everything, all the time. There are multiple opinions on the breakdown of social etiquette due to oversharing information, but there’s no denying that certain mobile phone behaviors are not only annoying, they may even be risky.

Whether it’s loud talkers or not silencing a phone during a movie, some mobile manners like pocket dialing someone because your phone isn’t locked, or tagging photos without permission, may put personal information at risk. But who is better at protecting their personal information? Men, or women?

At Microsoft, we want to know what you think. That’s why we’re kicking off our Mobile Manners and Mayhem Facebook poll. Rank your biggest mobile phone pet peeves and tell us your own mobile mayhem story. On May 20, we’ll release the results and reveal who is better at protecting themselves online, men or women.

At a very young age, we are taught to share.  Share our toys, our thoughts, our gratitude.  But in today’s digital society, all this oversharing online, may put us in harm’s way. Your personal information is a valuable commodity to criminals and, just like your personal computer, your mobile phone is equally attractive to those who would misuse this information. The good news: you can help protect yourself with some simple proactive steps:

· Adjust your privacy settings for Internet browsers, social networking sites, personal blogs and other places where you maintain personal data. According to our research, 49 percent of adults do not use privacy settings on social networking sites.

· Think before you share (particularly personal photos and videos), who you share the information with, and how it reflects on your reputation. Let others know what you do and do not want shared, and ask them to remove anything you don’t want disclosed.

· Be a good digital citizen by always being respectful online. Respect the privacy and reputation of yourself and others online.

  • Lock your computer and accounts with strong passwords and your mobile phone with a unique, four-digit PIN.
  • Do not pay bills, bank, shop, or conduct other sensitive business over “borrowed” or public Wi-Fi hotspots.
  • Watch for snoops. People scouting for passwords, PINs, user names, or other such data may be watching your fingers or the screen as you type.
  • Look for signs that a Web page is secure and legitimate. Before you enter sensitive data, check for evidence of encryption (e.g., a web address with “https” and a closed padlock beside it. (The lock might also be in the lower right corner of the window.)

The more proactively you manage your information online, the more opportunities you will have to help keep your personal information safer. For additional guidance regularly check our Safety & Security Center, where all of our tools and materials are available. “Like” our page on Facebook and take the poll, and follow us on Twitter.