Smartphone security should always be on the top of your mind. And if you think you’re information is safe because you keep your smartphone close to you — then you don’t fully understand cellphone security.
If you’re like me, you probably use your smartphone for a bunch of other activities besides just as a phone. That’s why you need to think of it as a small computer that is also susceptible to malware attacks.
Yep, just like your desktop computer or laptop, your smartphone is also vulnerable to hacking and malware.
Since we all keep personal data on our phones these days, they’re a great target for Internet thieves. Cyber criminals love targeting smartphones!
Therefore, you should do everything possible to protect your phone.
Here are 7 ways to make sure you have a secure smartphone at all times:
#1 – Only Download Legitimate Apps That Have A Good Track Record
You should still watch out for suspicious apps that might briefly appear (even on these sites) — because it can sometimes be a short time before an fraudulent app gets noticed.
Always check the permissions and read the reviews before you download an unfamiliar app.
Similarly, don’t download pirated apps — because hackers can attach malicious code to what looks like a normal program. Then, when you install the app, you’ll be installing the malware at the same time.
Here’s a great way to make sure apps are safe to download.
#2 – Download Phone Updates & App Updates Right Away
To be honest, I’m terrible about downloading the iPhone updates I get. It never seems like a good time, I put it off, and eventually I get around to it!
Don’t be like me… always keep your phone and your apps up-to-date. Here’s why:
- Phone manufacturers frequently release updates that will improve your phone’s functionality and overall security.
- App developers release updates that will add new features, fix bugs, and improve app security.
Even if an app update doesn’t introduce many new features and is just “improvements and bug fixes,” it’s still worth a download. It could prevent your phone from being hacked, and prevent your data from being shared with the world. Source
#3 – Be Cautious When Using Public WiFi
Don’t share private information over a public WiFi connection. Unsecured networks are easily hacked.
I’ve shared laptop security tips before. Many of those same tips — including being mindful of unsecured WiFi hotspots — apply to smartphone security as well.
Ideally, you should use a private Internet connection (also known as a Virtual Private Network or “VPN”) instead of an unsecured public WiFi network.
A VPN makes it safe to use public WiFi hotspots because the Internet connection between your device and the VPN server is encrypted. Even if a hacker somehow manages to intercept your data, for example by tricking you into connecting to an “evil twin” hotspot or packet-sniffing your WiFi data, the data is safe because it is encrypted. Source
Increase protection against an unsecured WiFi hot spot by using one of these highly recommended VPNs:
Take this quiz to see how much you understand about WiFi networks.
#4 – Use A Strong Password On Your Phone
Passwords can protect your smartphone from unauthorized access.
Remember, once somebody gains physical access to your device, it’s easy for them to install malware and see your private data.
Using a PIN or unique password is the single most important thing to do as a user of a smartphone to protect the device, the data and your reputation. The data on your phone is more valuable than on your desktop computer, partly because it has the more recent information. Source
Mobile phone manufacturers now have many ways to authenticate users. In addition, some phones include things such as fingerprint and retina scanners to prevent unauthorized access. Don’t get too excited though — smartphones can easily be fooled by fake fingerprints.
At a minimum, you should set a strong password to gain access to your device.
See how strong your passwords are right now.
#5 – Install An Antivirus App On Your Smartphone
Just like desktop computers, phones are also prone to malware and need to be protected. Smartphone security includes using antivirus phone security apps.
Here are the best antivirus apps for smartphones:
Install an antivirus app, and then set it to regularly scan your phone to keep it free of viruses.
Worried that your phone already has a virus? Find out if your smartphone has been compromised.
#6 – Turn OFF Bluetooth When You’re Not Using It
I bet you didn’t know this (I didn’t either) — although they’re not as common as other types of hacks, Bluetooth attacks can happen!
The main methods of using Bluetooth to hack a device are: scanning, pairing, and gathering info without detection.
Here are the ways hackers use Bluetooth to put your cellphone security at risk:
- Bluejacking – sends an unsolicited message to an unsuspecting smartphone user.
- Bluesnarfing – allows access to a user’s personal info in the smartphone. If the hacker sends corruption code, your phone will be shut down completely.
- Bluebugging – an older method of undetected access that most modern phones are protected against.
You should turn your Bluetooth OFF whenever you’re not using it.
It’s important to be aware of the pitfalls of leaving your Bluetooth switched ON when it’s not in use. Hackers remotely access phones (provided they are within range) and use them to make calls, access data, listen in on conversations, and browse the Internet.
#7 – Back Up The Data On Your Phone
Discovering that your phone has been lost or stolen is bad.
Trust me — I was attending a conference recently in Chicago and left my phone in the bathroom stall. I left it for no more than 30 minutes and it was G O N E. (Thank God for iCloud, or I would’ve lost everything!)
It’s especially painful if you find that items have been compromised like: Documents, Contacts, Messages, or Appointments.
In order to enhance your smartphone security, you need to backup your data frequently. There are a number of ways to go about it.
Cellphone security is so very important since we keep a lot of sensitive data on our phones — including banking information, personal details, and even compromising images. You need to take steps to ensure that hackers can’t gain access to your smartphone.
Follow the above tips to increase your smartphone security and decrease your risk of being infected by malware today!