Smartphone security is a very hot topic nowadays as people increasingly wake up to the reality of cybercrime and other security threats. Not only that but an unprotected phone can place you in a vulnerable position if it’s ever lost or stolen. Just imagine; you could lose all of your data and possibly get hacked only to find all of your personal information on the Internet. Luckily for you, we’ve done some research to find the best ways to keep your smartphone as safe as possible.
- Protect Your Smartphone’s Data
Your first line of defense when it comes to keeping your smartphone secure includes creating a strong PIN and password combination. However, considering that some of your phone’s storage is removable, it’s super easy for hackers to retrieve your data by simply removing the microSD card or connecting it to a computer.
It’s very important that you protect sensitive information that’s stored on your phone’s internal storage and there are encryption apps that you can use to protect specific folders and files. Most of them are available for free and are very easy to set up while being compatible with most smartphones. Once it’s up and running, the app will automatically protect your phone.
Be sure to back up your phone’s data and store it in a safe place like iCloud, OneDrive or Dropbox, so you can retrieve it if you ever lose your phone.
- Switch Off the Wireless Connection When Not Using It
The ability to send data wirelessly means that you could be vulnerable to data theft at any time while surfing the Internet. That’s why you should always switch off your phone’s Wi-Fi connection when you’re not browsing the Internet. That way, you’ll minimize the risk of interference from third parties who may want to use your data when you’re not looking.
Protect your home’s wireless router and network with a strong password so that no-one else can use it to access your data without your knowledge. Alternatively, if you’re using wireless mobile devices and hotspots, you should look out for malicious connection that seem like legitimate hotspots but are really dangerous third-party violations.
- Activate Screen Lock
A screen lock is still a viable way to not only lock it away from your kids but also to protect it from people who’d want to steal data from it. A screen lock can be in the form of a four or five digit combination, or it could be a personalized pattern or shape that you draw on your screen. It’s important to note here that over time tracing the same pattern on your screen can leave clues for a wrongdoer. That’s why you should clean your screen regularly so that there’s never any trace of the pattern on your screen.
If you choose the password route, make sure it’s strong and impossible to crack. This means you’ll have to forego easy targets like your child’s birthday or your home address. However, you could create a password using letters from your favorite song lyrics, for example.
Remote tracking is another important feature to consider if you value smartphone security. This feature can be used to track your phone when it’s been lost or stolen. For Android users, it’s available as “Find My Device”, while iOS device users will recognize it as “Find My iPhone.”
- Use SIM Card Lock
In addition to activating screen lock, you must also use the SIM card lock function, which effectively prevents anyone who isn’t you from accessing data from your SIM card. This feature requires you to create a special SIM card PIN number that you need to input every time you switch on your phone.
- Be Careful When Downloading Apps
It’s no secret that cybercriminals are constantly coming up with different malware that’s designed to infiltrate smartphones. That’s why smartphone users are advised to take caution when downloading software online and avoid installing anything that comes with shady requirements. We know that you may not always have the time to read the terms and agreements of stuff that you download but you should definitely avoid apps that request access to your personal data or certain features in your phone.
- Don’t Turn On Bluetooth When You Don’t Need It
There’s evidence to suggest that hackers can have access to your phone if they’re within 10 meters of it. That’s why you should only switch on Bluetooth when you genuinely want to connect with someone to send and receive data. Otherwise, keep it off.
Most smartphones have a “non-discoverable” option on the Bluetooth settings which enables you to hide your phone from nearby users. If you receive a request to pair with a nearby device that you don’t know, decline it immediately and switch off your Bluetooth until you leave that area.
- Deactivate Geotagging
Although being able to automatically upload photos on a social media account is a nice convenience to have, this feature usually comes with an embedded “geotag” that shows the location where the photos were taken.
This means that using the right software, hackers can use the pictures you upload to find out where you are in the world. The good news is that you can switch off the geotagging feature at any time to protect your privacy while traveling or even relaxing at home. After all, you don’t want strangers to know your every move, right?
- Install a Quality Antivirus
It’s often said that smartphones are like handheld PCs that provide you with the whole world at the palm of your hand. But with the conveniences of PC-like smart technology also come threats like malware that’s delivered in the form of spam. Then, you have email attachments or infected apps that can significantly slow down your phone’s performance while allowing hackers to access confidential information.
It’s also worth noting that there are a lot of fake antivirus companies out there that offer seemingly good offers, like free or cheap plans. This type of software is usually designed to fool the customer into thinking that their device is safe while it’s being infected by the same company.
- Be Careful When Browsing the Internet
Smartphones owners need to be extra vigilant when browsing the web nowadays because you can easily find yourself in hot waters. For instance, your smartphone may suggest saving the usernames and passwords that you use for your favorite websites, but this will make it easier for anyone else to access and use the same accounts without your permission.
Google and other search engines are taking measures to protect users by giving certain indications when a website is safe or unsafe. Unsafe websites usually come with an “unsecure” warning on the address bar or a pop-up message will appear warning you that the website that you’re visiting is not safe. It’s in your best interest to leave such websites immediately or you will risk getting hacked.
Also, if you’re going to purchase something online or enter any sensitive information on a website, you should make sure that its address is preceded by “HTTPS” instead of “HTTP”. The extra “S” means that the website is encrypted and that all your information will be safe. Better yet, make sure the website has a green padlock preceding its address for extra security.
- Remote Wipe All the Data in Your Smartphone
Be sure to use the remote wipe feature if your phone is ever lost or stolen. This feature allows you to delete all of your phone’s data remotely and quickly. There are a lot of wipe applications out there that come at varying prices, with the lowest ones costing about $5 a month.