If you look around any locale in the world, there is one thing that is almost certain to be true: Everyone will have their smartphone on them. Whether in pockets, handbags or permanently attached to their hands, people’s smartphones are an indispensable part of their lives and contain an exorbitant amount of data about their existence.
However, even though the contacts, calendars, personal details and health data are all located on smartphones, many are too blase about the security risks that are continuously present when it comes to the beloved devices.
By abiding by some manageable rules, you can protect your data and keep your information safe. Here are five smart tips from a gadget blog for protecting your smartphone’s security.
1. Don’t keep the same, obvious password.
Just like you regularly change your passwords for your online banking systems (or just like you should be!), you should also frequently change your cell phone password. While this may seem like a burden (and it may be slightly confusing to remember what you altered it to), it is essential in keeping your information safe.
Just think: The burden of having your private details stolen is far more significant than having to remember a new 4-digit code.
When creating a password, follow the same rules that you would for your online banking account. Don’t use obvious things, such as your birthday or your name. Don’t use any information that is with you, because if people know who you are, they are going to be able to unlock it easily.
The best option would be to devise a lengthy alphanumeric password, as even the most brilliant hackers will have a hard time decoding it.
2. Keep your guard up when browsing the web.
It can be alluring to agree to websites saving your details and passwords, as it makes it quicker and easier to log in or browse later on. However, this also means that if someone steals your phone, they are going to be able to access your accounts. This is especially problematic if it is on sites where you can spend money.
For this reason, always pay attention to security messages that pop up while browsing the web and opt not to remain logged into any banking or shopping sites.
When you do purchase your smartphone, ensure that the web address has a padlock in the address bar which designates that it is encrypted.
3. Beware of geotagging.
With the prevalence of social networking apps, we are all used to our photos and posts having embedded location tags, also called “geotags,” when they upload to the internet. Not only do these geotags upload to social media platforms, but they have your location stored in the photo files themselves as well.
This can be dangerous because anyone can see where you have just been, or where you are at that very moment. Most people don’t recognize how vulnerable this makes their safety.
Opt to switch off the geotagging feature to protect your privacy and only upload geo-tagged photos when you have moved on from that exact location. You don’t want to willingly share your current location with those who may not have your best interests at heart.
4. Install an antivirus software — now.
While it is common practice for people to install antivirus software on their computers, most don’t download the same form of protection on their phones, despite the fact that there are similar threats.
Just like with laptops, your phone can get infected by spam bearing malware attachments or through infected apps that use vulnerabilities in your operating system.
Be vigilant when selecting an antivirus software for your smartphone, as fake versions are floating around. A good solution is to use the same antivirus company for your computer and your phone.
5. Don’t overlook the threats from public Wi-Fi.
Public Wi-Fi networks are the easiest way for hackers to penetrate your smartphone. This is because public Wi-Fi spots are unencrypted networks, which means the information you send using them is privy to attacks.
If you don’t have a robust internet plan, such as those offered by the most trusted mobile providers in your location, then it may be inevitable that you will have to connect to Wi-Fi points at various times (coffee shops!). However, never send sensitive information and don’t log into your online banking accounts or other sites that have private information.
If you travel frequently and continuously connect to public Wi-Fi, your best option would be to download a mobile VPN system.
Do you prioritize your smartphone security? How do you make sure your data and information stay safe? Let us know in the comments below!
Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.