The better our phones are, and the more they can do, the more vulnerable our data becomes.
Even though most manufacturers are doing their best to keep our confidential data hidden and safe from cybercriminals, the versatility and convenience that come with today’s models of smartphones encourage their non-stop use. We practically live on our phones.
On average, we spend 6 hours and 42 minutes online every day.
And 67% of us do it on our mobile devices.
Not only do we use our internet-enabled smartphones as storage for our private photos, sensitive documents, and confidential correspondences, but we also use them to pay our bills, manage our passwords, and watch adult content. And we think we’re safe.
Nobody’s safe from cybercrime, not even you.
Unless, of course, you take the necessary measures to secure your smartphone. Here’s a list of 5 steps how to do it.
1. Set Up All Available Locks on your Phone
Nothing beats a strong, random password. To prevent hackers from accessing your data, you should keep everything under lock, including your screen, apps, and SIM card. Generate a random combination of more than 10 letters, numbers, and symbols.
Change your password regularly every 3 months and have separate ones for all accounts.
Oh, and reinforce them with native smartphone protection. Here performs usually includes screen lock patterns and two-factor authentication that adds another layer of security around your device (a fingerprint, for instance). The more passwords and locks you have, the better.
2. Configure Your Phone’s Security Features
It’s probably safe to guess that you can change your smartphone theme and wallpaper blindfolded, but could we say the same about privacy customization options? There are many excellent phones on the market these days, and yours is probably one of them.
So get to know it better. You may be surprised by the things it can do.
Most smartphones have built-in antivirus apps, for instance. Find yours and adjust its settings. “Find My Device” is another feature you should enable – if your phone gets stolen, it will be a lifesaver. For the same reason, you should download a remote wipe app, too.
3. Protect and Encrypt All Your Mobile Data
While you’re downloading third-party security tools, you should find a good data encryption app as well. These apps serve to mask data in your internal storage, which means that nobody will be able to decipher it even if they somehow crack your password.
Additionally, download a trusted VPN app.
A Virtual Private Network, or a VPN for short, will do the same with your internet traffic. By encrypting the data your device exchanges with the websites you visit, the best VPN will keep you utterly invisible to cybercriminals while you’re browsing the internet (to download one click here).
Besides, you can find more VPN apps for Android or iOS here.
4. Update Your Phone and Apps Regularly
When we said earlier that smartphone manufacturers are doing their best to keep your device safe from cybercrime, this is what we meant – every time a new weak spot detected on your phone, the manufacturer develops a security patch and seals it shut.
Unfortunately, this patch cannot work unless you specifically trigger it.
This is why IT security experts insist on keeping our operating systems up-to-date at all times. Older versions are full of vulnerabilities that cybercriminals know about too. So until these patches are made automatic, it’s a user’s responsibility to run them.
5. Browse and Download with Utmost Care
It’s been talked a lot about the third-party apps you need to download, but one key detail hasn’t been mentioned yet – never download third-party apps from untrusted sources. Even when you download apps from the Play Store or the App Store, be careful about allowing permissions.
For instance, it would be smart to turn off all geotagging.
Cybersecurity apps aside, you should generally be extremely cautious with sensitive mobile-based activities that include financial or other confidential data. Never access your email, social media, or bank accounts via public WiFi network unless you’re using a VPN.
So, before you start enjoying your new smartphone, at least make sure that you’re making the best use of its native security features. This includes not only passwords and locks, but also special tools such as in-built antivirus, a device tracker, and data encryption.
Apart from that, the only other thing you need is common sense.
You’ll never become an easy target if you use your smartphone responsibly.