Nowadays, smartphones have become so integrated in our everyday lives, that we are totally dependent on them. Not only do they connect us with everyone we care about, but they also serve as our calendar, notebook, recorder, camera, and even as our wallet. As a result, losing a smartphone along with the data stored in it can rightfully be considered a real disaster. This is why you should take smartphone security quite seriously.
8 smartphone security tips
We, at Sherish, agree that privacy and security are of crucial importance. We understand that you want to keep your precious photos, videos and other valuable information in your phone safe and secure. So, check out our eight smartphone security tips:
1. Use a pin, password and/or pattern to lock your phone
Your phone holds a lot of personal information that is potentially accessible to prying eyes. Messages, photos, videos, or phonebook entries are all private data you should make available only to yourself. A good way to prevent someone from accessing information stored in your phone is to lock it. Setting this up is quite easy. If you are an Android user, go to Location and Security settings for additional instructions. If you have an iOS device, you can find this function in the General settings.
No matter what type of smartphone you use, a strong password, PIN, or pattern is the first line of defense in case you lose it. As long as you don’t pick an obvious password like 1234, you can rest assured that you can protect your data long enough to actually locate and remote-erase it. Depending on the type of phone you use, you can do this via the Android Device Manager, Find my iPhone, or Windows phone sites.
2. Install security software and updates
Another good smartphone security measure is to install security software and update essential phone apps whenever there are updates available. Phone vendors are constantly releasing important patches and fixes for vulnerabilities, bugs, stability and performance improvements.
Certain apps include malware prevention, remote data wipe and an automatic security adviser to alert you about potential risks when you change an important setting. Updating your apps can also help you locate your device if you lose it, with the help of alarms or messages. You can back up your contacts online and even remote-erase everything if you lose hope of getting your phone back.
3. Only install apps from trusted sources
You may often find yourself tempted to download a really cool app from an unknown source. It’s just one app, so what could possibly go wrong? The truth is that everything could go wrong if you are not cautious when downloading apps. You may download malware without knowing it, and give access to your most sensitive phone data. In this case, not only will you compromise your privacy, but compromise the privacy of your loved ones, too.
This is why it’s crucial to download and install apps exclusively from trusted sources. Platforms such as Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store take security very seriously and are very cautious about the apps they offer. They withdraw any app from their list as soon as they find it suspicious.
If you want to download an app that is not available on Google Play Store or Apple’s App Store, make sure it’s legitimate. Check some reviews, confirm the legitimacy of this alternative unofficial app store and compare the official website of the app’s sponsor with the store link so as to confirm consistency.
4. Make sure you understand the permissions you’re giving before accepting them
You should be cautious when granting apps access to personal information in your smartphone. Always take some time to carefully check the permissions an app requests before downloading it. Apps usually ask that you give them access to a long list of information stored in your smartphone. Trying to install an app quickly, we often skip reading this list, thus exposing our smartphone security at risk.
For example, there is a recently discovered Trojanized version of the Android Market Security Tool. It asks for permission to send text messages to premium-rate numbers, learn your current location, view your saved text messages and even change your system settings. Giving permissions to apps like this one allows them to act as a backdoor program.
5. Turn off Internet and Bluetooth connections when you are not using them
Hackers can do all sorts of things that will surprise you. They are able to do them because we often forget to turn off our data exchange settings. Therefore, make sure you always turn off Bluetooth, Location Services, Near Field Communication (NFC), WiFi, and Mobile Data when you are not using them.
Be especially cautious when using public WiFi networks. You should limit your usage of public hotspots. Use a protected WiFi from a network operator you trust or a mobile wireless connection. This way, you will reduce the risk of exposure when accessing personal or sensitive information.
6. Log out of sites after you make a payment
Be mindful when using your phone for online shopping and other money transaction services. Using online banking on your smartphone should be as safe as using it with your desktop browser, assuming the bank implements the appropriate security measures.
After the transaction is complete, you should log out right away. Try avoiding transactions while you are on a public WiFi and never store usernames and passwords in your smartphone.
7. Back up your data
This security measure is about protecting and restoring information in case a disaster strikes. You probably have a lot of information in your smartphone, including contacts, photos, notes, articles, and much more. These files can be stored on your computer, an SD card, or in the cloud. This will allow you to securely restore the information in case your phone is stolen or lost.
8. Stay physically secure
Despite all efforts to block access to your apps, numbers, or other information, there is always the risk of losing your phone or someone stealing it. If something like this happens, apps that can locate the smartphone may be of great help. Not only will they help you locate your phone, but some of them have the option to erase phone data as well.
Another important thing is to report the theft to the local authorities and register the stolen phone with your wireless provider. This will send notice to all major wireless providers, so the phone can’t be activated on any wireless network without your permission.
Smartphones are meant to make our lives easier, so don’t let yourself become obsessed with security issues too much. Just follow these tips and you will do everything you can to protect your device and your privacy in the long run.