Smartphones are an integral part of our lives. 60% of internet traffic comes from smartphones. Most of us deal with everything from social contacts and dating lives to banking and work emails via mobile apps.
Hence, smartphone security has become essential. Knowing how to tell if your phone has been hacked, for example, is now a necessary skill.
Fortunately, there are simple yet effective ways to enhance the security of your smartphone and prevent breaches. Let’s jump to the chase and dive into 10 tips for staying safe on your mobile device.
#1. Take precautions about public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is often dangerous, serving as a prime hunting ground for intruders. Password-free connections are usually unencrypted, and offer no basic protection for those connected.
A common threat to public communications is man-in-the-middle attacks. Here, a hacker creates their own fraudulent Wi-Fi network, set up to look just like a public network. Once connected, they wait to collect login credentials, payment data, and more.
With a virtual private network (VPN) like Surfshark, your entire browsing activities are encrypted, even if you are connected to a fake network. (Could you Download Surfshark over here.)
#2. Avoid public charging ports
Unfortunately, threats in public places don’t end with unsecured WiFi connections. Hackers can also hack common charging ports in coffee shops, airports, or libraries. This method is known colloquially as “juice-raising”.
While the ports on your phone charge your device, they also transfer data. If a public charging port is tampered with, you may give a hacker full access to your smartphone and all the data you store on it.
The best thing you can do is to avoid it completely. Choose to use your wall charger with standard power sockets, or invest in a powerbank.
#3. Implement built-in screen locks
Every smartphone offers screen locks, so far 28% of users report Don’t use one. Cyber threats are a major concern, but the risk of physical theft is always present. If you don’t use a screen lock, the thief will only need to steal your phone to get access to everything.
Screen locks come in the following forms:
- PIN codes
- Pattern locks
This does not even include biometrics such as facial recognition and fingerprint scanners. This can add an extra layer of personal protection from phone thieves.
#4. Enable Remote Tracking Features
As mentioned, the threats to your smartphone are not only online. In the event of a physical theft, it is not guaranteed that the lock screen will keep thieves away. In these scenarios, remote phone tracking features are your best ally.
Enable “Find My iPhone” (Apple users), or “Find My Device” (Android) in your phone’s settings. Not only will this allow you to track your device’s location, but it will also allow you to remotely wipe your data and remove any private information.
#5. Make regular data backups
With all the preventive measures in the world, there is always a chance of losing your valuable data. To prepare for the worst case scenario, it is necessary to create comprehensive backups of the information you keep on your device.
When a phone is hacked, almost all of its data will become corrupted and unusable. Instead of starting from scratch with a new device, a secure data backup will save you a lot of effort and time.
#6. Upgrade your password security
Reusing passwords is a major security threat. A report found that out of 106 million users, two or more passwords were compromised. 60% reused passwords through their accounts.
It’s easy to see why. With dozens of accounts in your name, how are you supposed to remember so many different and complex passwords?
The simple answer is – you don’t have to. Instead, choose a password manager.
This software remembers your login data and secures it for you. Many providers also offer password generators, so you don’t need to come up with them yourself.
#7. Keep your operating system and apps up to date
The primary motivation behind a lot of updates is to patch security vulnerabilities. Over time, backdoors in old programs have become well known to hackers. By avoiding updates, you may become a victim of cybercrime.
This also applies to both the operating system (OS) and applications. Fortunately, this vulnerability is simple and easy to fix. Simply keep your operating system and applications up to date at all times to take advantage of the latest security upgrades.
#8. Only download apps from official app stores
It may seem logical to some, but downloading apps from unofficial app stores can be dangerous. Malicious apps masquerade as interesting or already known games but aim to infect your phone.
Stick to official app stores like the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. These marketplaces automatically scan programs for viruses. If you are an Android user, make sure that your browser is not allowed to download apps from unknown sources. This can be done via the Security settings on your phone.
#9. Check Your App Permissions
Many app developers share your data publicly with multiple third (and sometimes fourth) parties. Worst of all, we give them permission to do so. If a third party gets hacked, so does your data.
Reviewing your apps’ permissions is a great way to stay up to date on what data is accessible on your phone. You can easily do this by going to your phone’s Apps settings. Revoke any permissions you deem unnecessary.
#10. Do not “jailbreak” or “root” your phone
Jailbreaking (iPhone) and Rooting (Android) remove restrictions imposed by mobile manufacturers. While this unlocks technical possibilities and expands the resources available to users, it comes with a large set of security risks.
Some of the associated risks include:
- Loss of protection built into cybersecurity
- Inability to access new security updates
- Causing your device warranty to expire
The jailbreaking and rooting process allow administrator rights, but not just the user. This means that when a malicious code enters your phone, it will have unlimited access to all private information stored on the device.
Conclusion – Keeping your smartphone safe is essential
Smartphone security is vital in our increasingly digital world. By following the above 10 strategies, you will be safe from the vast majority of mobile security threats. With a little effort, your private data will not be compromised by cybercriminals and thieves alike.
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