When it comes to our mobile phones, most of the news tend to be about advancements. A major new mobile phone comes out every few months, new software updates seem constant, and of course app stores are generating fresh content at a rate we can’t even keep track of. Lost in the shuffle of all this improvement, however, is often the thing that should be one of the biggest concerns for mobile smartphone users: Security.
Why do we need security on smartphones? For a lot of us, this falls under the “it’ll never happen to me” thought process, but the fact is, our phones are capable of exposing a great deal of personal information and sensitive data. Your smartphones store a great deal of information about you and your friends, family. You may have addresses and contact information stored in your phone; you may be permanently logged into sites with payment information, such as a Wells Fargo account or even an online retailer; you may even have a Betfair casino app, or a similar entertainment device that involves real money and personal information. Each day, 100s of smartphone vulnerabilities are exposed, that can gain access to your personal data anytime, anywhere. But here are 4 essential tips for securing your mobile phone – be it an iPhone, or Android based Samsung Galaxy, etc. – to prevent consequences.
1. Use A Passcode, Pattern
Yes, yes. It’s a huge pain in the neck to have to type in a code or swipe a design every single time you want to access your phone. But this tiny little security measure that costs you a couple of seconds here and there can actually provide great security against an amateur thief. If someone simply happens to pick up your phone (with no hacking expertise, etc.) and tries to log in to find something useful, a simple passcode can be the difference between securing your data and forfeiting valuable information. Though there are hacks on iPhone to bypass passcode, if you keep your iOS version latest, you can mitigate attacks in most of the cases.
2. Avoid Storing Passwords
When you log into an app, a payment site, etc. from your mobile phone, try to avoid the option of saving passwords and information. Like Tip #1, this is a bit of an inconvenience, but it’s also a huge security boost. Simply put, when you avoid storing this information, it makes it much harder for a thief or hacker to use personal data against you. Even though these passwords are encrypted before being stored to smartphone’s browser or app, the risk is very much there if hackers breaks that particular service’s security.
3. Use Security Apps
This is a bit of a vague suggestion, only because there are so many out there. Even though Android and iOS don’t recommend these apps, using them is no harm. From simple anti-virus and anti-malware protection, to password protection, to securing your outgoing WiFi data, there are mobile apps of all kinds that greatly enhance your device’s security. Check out a few at e-Week.
4. Use A Phone Finder
This is another step that many people ignore simply because it seems tedious. On iPhones, the “Find My iPhone” app is included, and on Android, the Device manager. But there are a number of independent apps for other smartphones that perform the same task. Basically, these apps can locate your phone if lost or stolen, and some can even perform a full “wipe” – erasing all of the sensitive data on your phone remotely if you give it up for lost. Among other features you can ring your phone and find it’s location if its in the close vicinity.
Among other steps, you can Encrypt data on your phone (on Android Settings > Security > Encrypt), iOS (Preferences > Data protection) and keep all of your data secure even if it goes into the wrong hands.