Ways to Secure Your Smartphone

June 3, 2017

The smartphone industry has been steadily developing and growing since 90s, both in market size, as well as in models and suppliers.

Modern advances to mobiles mean that there’s often far more at stake than losing contacts and text messages if a mobile is lost or stolen, and even if you don’t use a phone to access the internet or store sensitive data, you could still be at risk if not properly protected.

As a result, you need to take steps to protect your device as well as the data on it. Listed below are great tips to boost the security of your smartphone and data on it:

Lock your device (Passcode and SIM lock)

Locking your smartphone when it is not in use protects your data if your device is lost or stolen. How you lock your smartphone will depend on the type of device you have. Most smartphones use passcodes, but some devices provide alternate methods such as fingerprint scans and facial recognition.

If you use a passcode to lock your smartphone, make sure it is at least six digits long. Shorter passcodes are easily cracked. Having passcode is useful but won’t stop someone from removing your SIM card and using it on another phone.

To prevent this from happening, set up a SIM card lock in the form of a PIN number that will need to be entered when a phone is turned on in order to connect to a network.

Do not jailbreak your smartphone

Jailbreaking refers to bypassing the restrictions the smartphone vendor puts on the device’s operating system.

This practice is also referred to as rooting. Some people jailbreak their smartphones to gain full control of them. For example, jailbreaking allows individuals to install apps and make tweaks that are not authorized by the vendors.

Although gaining full control might sound appealing, it most likely will remove the security protections built into your smartphone’s operating system, leaving the device more vulnerable to cyber attacks.

Use hardware level encryption

Most people just stick with whatever default settings their stuff comes with, which is what makes default settings so important almost all smart phones support encryption, but few actually use it.

If you or someone you know has an older, unencrypted smart phone, when should it be encrypted? Obviously, if privacy and security is of great importance to you above all other concerns, then you should encrypt regardless.

Please note for more casual users with older or lower-end devices, encryption can noticeably impact performance in ways that can make these devices actively unpleasant to use.

Use phone tracking software

Some mobile phones have tracking features that will phone security. Sometimes, tracking your phone is a good thing. Your phone goes missing, and all your photos, notes and interview recordings are on there.

For at least a few years, both iOS and Android have had tracking software built into your phones in case they get lost or stolen. For example if you have an iPhone using iCloud, iPhone users can locate their device, lock the screen, lock the activation (so it can’t be resold and reactivated), or remotely wipe the device clean.

For Android users your device’s location access need to be turned on and be signed in to your Google Account. Important to note Android Device Manager or iCloud won’t work for devices that are turned off or that don’t have a mobile data or Wi-Fi connection.

Keep your phone’s operating system and apps updated

It is strongly recommend that you update your phone’s operating system on a regular basis. This will ensure that your phone is up-to-date and will help keep your phone free from exploits and other security threats.

There are typically periodic updates to phone’s operating system and apps that not only add new features, but also offer tightened security and often improve running performance.

Beware of free public WiFi networks

The convenience of free WiFi networks remains a great asset for surfing the internet or checking the news or the last minute banking. Free public wireless networks may come at a steep price — the theft of your finances and identity.

Often hackers station themselves between you and the WiFi connection point, intercepting any credit card or financial information you send over the free public WiFi network.

Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth when not in use

People often leave a smartphone’s Wi-Fi  and Bluetooth turned on at all times (sometimes it’s on by default), but you should try and disable them when they’re not in use.

Failure to do so will continuously advertise your phone’s existence to other WiFi and Bluetooth-equipped devices nearby, which can result in an unauthorized connection to the phone.

You think of them as ways to connect to something, but thieves can use them to connect to your device and access files.

With these security measures in place, you can at least be safe in the knowledge that if a phone is stolen it will be of very little use to the average thief.

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