For better or worse we are all practically “married” to our phones these days. Our phones go everywhere we go and have access to our most private conversations as well as our most precious memories. But as useful as our phones are, they can also make us vulnerable to attacks by thieves and cyber-criminals determined to access our private information for personal gain.
So how can you use these smartphone security tips and avoid being manipulated or attacked by cyber-criminals? Here are some smart tips to keep your smartphone safe.
1. Keep Track of Your Phone At All Times
40 percent of robberies in major cities now involve mobile devices, according to the Federal Communications Commission. 1.6 million Americans were the victims of smartphone theft last year, so it’s more important than ever to keep track of your phone at all times. Be aware of your surroundings and keep your phone in your pocket or bag in crowded areas to avoid becoming a target.
2. Don’t Use Your Phone Without a Password
We know it’s inconvenient to type in a password every time you use your phone, but it’s one of the best ways to keep your phone secure, especially in the event that it is lost or stolen. Unfortunately more than 50% of smartphone users admit that they don’t secure their phones with passwords, creating a golden opportunity for thieves to:
- Access your personal information (contacts, emails, personal files)
- Pose as you and make posts to your social media accounts
- Rack up charges on your phone by calling international numbers or services that charge by the minute
3. Keep Your Phone Up to Date
Just as your computer needs frequent updates to patch security threats, so does your phone. Be sure to install any operating system updates as soon as they become available. You’ll also want to update the apps on your phone regularly to ensure bug fixes and security patches are installed.
4. Perform Regular Backups
Your phone probably contains lots of important information, photos, videos and other data that you’d be devastated to lose. Backing up your data on a regular basis is your best insurance policy in case your phone is ever lost or stolen or simply breaks down. The best way to backup your phone is to set it to automatically backup your files on a regular basis.
There are different backup options depending on whether you have an iPhone, Android or Windows phone. Be sure to check the phone’s settings and explore the backup options available. The best options allow you to upload all of your data to a cloud server so the data can be restored to your phone in case it breaks or downloaded to a new phone if your phone is lost, stolen or dies.
5. Enable Remote Geo-Tracking & Lock and Wipe Functions
These functions allow you to locate your phone if it’s misplaced. If the phone is lost or stolen, you can also wipe the data to ensure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Just be aware that Geo-tracking may enable others to pinpoint your location.
6. Don’t Save Passwords or Pin Numbers on Your Phone
While it might make things more convenient for you, keeping passwords or pin numbers on your phone puts your security at risk. Whether someone sees your password list while looking over your shoulder or gains access to it by stealing your phone, the result is the same – a complete stranger will have access to your bank accounts, social media accounts or other important information.
If you must store sensitive information on your phone, use an app designed to keep your data encrypted, like LastPass, 1Password or RoboForm.
7. Only Use Encrypted WiFi Networks
Excerpted from Entrepreneur.com
WiFi networks available in stores, hotels, airports and coffee shops can make our lives easier, but they can also enable hackers and criminals to access our phones without our knowledge or consent. When you connect your phone to a WiFi hotspot, be sure that it’s encrypted and available only with a password. And beware of several WiFi networks that all appear to be from the same business or coffee shop. Hackers often create WiFi networks with similar names to fool people into connecting to the wrong network, giving them access to your phone. For best results, find out the name of the WiFi network and type it in manually, rather than letting your phone detect all WiFi hotspots.
8. Turn off Bluetooth when you’re not using it, especially in crowded areas
This not only saves your phone’s battery, it keeps your device more secure. While most of the newest bluetooth devices are secure for the most part, there are still vulnerabilities that can be exploited by hackers. For example, most people aren’t aware that hackers can use bluetooth to eavesdrop on private conversations, both on the phone and with people in your immediate vicinity, if you’re using a bluetooth headset. Malicious attackers can also take advantage of your bluetooth connection to crash your device, block your phone from receiving calls and drain your battery.
9. Use Apps Safely
Excerpted from VeraCode.com
First, always download apps from trusted providers. Your phone should have an apps center where you can download apps. Also, be aware that apps can transmit personal information. If you’re not sure why an app needs to access your contacts, calls, camera, photos or locations, deny access to these functions or find a different app that doesn’t require access to this information. You can usually adjust an app’s preferences in the app’s settings or in the general settings on your phone.
10. Think Before You Click
Whether you’re visiting a website or checking your email, pay attention and think before you click. One false click could unleash malicious code, allowing hackers to access your personal data. Stick with trusted websites and apps and never download content from an unknown source or one you can’t verify. Be sure to log out of websites when you’re done using them.
Keeping these tips in mind can go a long way to keeping your phone secure, allowing you to enjoy all the benefits your smartphone has to offer. And remember, if you’re a business owner who is working on strategies to keep smartphones safe in the workplace, EZSolution can help! Contact EZSolution today to implement security strategies for all the smartphones and mobile devices that connect to your network!