These days we use our smartphones for everything: online shopping, streaming music, watching television shows, mobile banking, listening to podcasts, and looking up directions. If we were to lose our phone, or if it were to somehow become compromised, it would be heartbreaking.
Sure, nowadays, everything on your phone is backed up onto the cloud but still, losing something important (and expensive) hurts, and knowing someone else has access to your private information is more than uncomfortable.
That’s why we’ve compiled this list of smartphone security tips. Take heed of this advice and Future You will thank you.
1. Lock your screen.
Locking your screen is a simple way to keep the information on your phone safe if it is stolen or lost. These days most mobile phones come with a basic passcode lock, while newer models allow for fingerprint or face identification. It only takes a couple of minutes to set up a passcode so take the time to do so.
2. Keep your phone updated.
Operating systems and mobile apps are regularly coming out with new updates you can install. These updates provide more than sweet features; they also fix bugs and create security patches to prevent against known vulnerabilities. Updating your phone and its apps regularly keeps your phone current, fast, and safe.
3. Back up your phone regularly.
Backing up your phone regularly is a smart thing to do. No one can foresee their phone being unexpectedly lost, stolen, or corrupted, but if you have frequent backups, at least you are only losing the hardware and you can restore your files onto a replacement phone. After all, it’s usually the content on the phone (photos, notes, contacts, passwords, etc.) that are priceless.
4. Don’t automatically connect to free WiFi.
Don’t get us wrong: free WiFi rules. But connecting to an unsecured network manned by someone you don’t know makes you more susceptible to falling victim to an attack. This is because it enables anyone running the hotspot to peek at what you are doing on the Internet. Whatever you can see, they can see, and this includes sensitive information like passwords.
5. Sign off from banking and shopping websites.
Make sure to log out from any shopping or banking sites or apps on your phone when you’re done using them. In case you lose your phone, at least the thief won’t have access to your online banking (hello, e-transfers) or Amazon Prime account!
6. Perform app research.
Before you hit “download” in the Apple or Google Play store, take a peek at the app’s rating and recent reviews. Similar to downloading a plugin on WordPress, you want to only download apps that are current, with recent updates, and which sound reputable. Steer clear of shady-looking apps that request more access than they need from your phone. Unlimited access means the maker can breach your device and infect it.
7. Use a password keeper.
We all know it’s not safe to use the same password for more than one website or account but we also know it’s annoying to remember countless complicated passwords. A password keeper simplifies password-keeping by storing your passwords in an encrypted database. It can also generate extra complex passwords for you. Instead of having to manually type in your password for each app or site on your phone, you can access them safely through your password keeper app.
8. Turn off Bluetooth and GPS when not in use.
Bluetooth and GPS are really handy when you’re using them intentionally, but keeping location services or access to your phone open can lead to the wrong people knowing where you are or connecting to your phone.
9. Be skeptical of links sent through SMS or email.
Phishing scams are not only targeted at desktop users. Clicking on a link in an email on your phone is just as risky as doing it on a desktop. Phishing scams can also appear in text messages so never open a link from a stranger if it doesn’t feel right.
We’re using our mobile phones now more than ever. Follow the above tips to keep your mobile, and yourself, safe.
Did we miss any smartphone security tips? Let us know in the comments below and we’ll add them to our list!