Stay Secure on Smartphones

You probably have a lot of sensitive info or perhaps personal data on your smartphone – data that you don’t want other people getting their hands on. If you ever happen to lose your smartphone or it gets stolen, that is exactly what might happen. Your smartphone may even be hacked by a data thief.

Hacking a smartphone is easier than you think – all a data thief needs is some freely available software and a laptop connected to the internet. It’s almost impossible to keep the stuff on your smartphone protected from a determined hacker for long. However, you can always make it very hard for a hacker to get into your smartphone. That way, you can wipe it clean remotely later and keep your data secure in case you do not have access to your phone anymore.

Here are some ways with which you can keep your smartphone login secure on the off-chance someone tries to hack it or it gets stolen.

Set up a Keypad lock and a PIN Card Lock

Setting up a keypad lock, according to research, is something the majority of smartphone users can’t be bothered with. A keypad lock will go a long way to prevent easy access to your smartphone. If you own one of the newer smartphone models that support advanced security features like face scanners and fingerprint scanners, use them. You should also set up a PIN card lock. A PIN card lock asks you for a password when your cellphone is turned on and attempts to connect to a network.

Using a numeric password is a better option than using a pattern recognition lock as its easier to break.

Install Anti-Virus apps

Download and use an anti-virus app, like the AVG Anti-Virus app for your Android, Windows or iOS smartphone.  Reputable anti-virus apps can help you identify suspicious apps, files, media or settings. Some anti-virus apps also help you browse the net more securely and offer features like remote lock/remote wipe. Try to get an anti-virus app that has positive reviews and is good at doing its job. Generally going with an app that has a reliable and reputed security company behind it is a good choice.

Try to get an anti-virus app that has positive reviews and is good at doing its job. Generally going with an app that has a reliable and reputed security company behind it is a good choice.

Setup Remote Wipe

Register for a remote wipe service or download an app that supports that as soon as you can.  Why? You need a backup plan to keep your data secure if your smartphone ever happens to get stolen. The procedure to set up remote wipe will depend on the platform your smartphone supports.

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If you own an Apple smartphone, for example, you need to have signed up for an iCloud account beforehand. You can then wipe your iPhone remotely from a web-connected device. You can also use the Find My iPhone app to locate/remotely erase your smartphone, but you need a second Apple device for that.

Always Backup Your Data

Once you remote wipe your smartphone, all your data will be lost. And so you need to back up your data once in a while, so that you will be able to recover your data later. If you own an Android smartphone, check out the free Helium backup and syncing app. An Apple device, however, can be automatically backed up through iCloud.

Only Download Apps from Trusted Sources

We cannot stress this point enough: only download apps from a trusted source. That means you should get apps from the official Google Play store for Android and App Store for iOS devices only. This reduces the chances of you installing malware on your smartphone. Don’t assume the app is safe just because it’s on the official store either – several Android store apps have later been found to contain malware. Check the reviews on the app store and external sources before you download and install the app in question.

Don’t assume the app is safe just because it’s on the official store either – several Android store apps have later been found to contain malware. Check the reviews on the app store and external sources before you download and install the app in question.

Jailbroken Smartphones are at Risk

If you have a jailbroken smartphone, your data will be much less secure. The iTunes store, for example, contains only those apps that have been tested by the Apple team and found to be safe. Once you jailbreak your smartphone and install apps that aren’t officially approved, you are living on the edge. We’re not saying you shouldn’t jailbreak your phone – just stick to download the most popular apps. Apps that have received positive reviews and have been around for a while are not likely to contain malware.

Rooting is Risky

If you think jailbreaking an iDevice is a bad idea, think twice. A rooted Android phone is potentially at risk as well. Rooting allows malicious apps that have special permissions to record gestures or even numbers and letters as you type them. Don’t let anyone else root your phone for you if they offer. Also, like we said before, only download trusted apps.

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Disconnect From the Internet and Bluetooth

When you’re not using your smartphone, turn off your data access (Wi-Fi or your phone data plan) and turn off your Bluetooth too. These two steps will prevent would-be thieves from accessing your smartphone remotely. You can just turn on Airplane mode to do this in a single step. Of course, you can’t always keep your phone disconnected, but you should do this whenever possible. Not only will this keep your data safe, your battery will last longer too.

Be on the Lookout for Abnormal or Suspicious Behavior

A gaming app that is trying to get access to your contacts or a music player requesting access to your messaging history is bound to be malware. Don’t be quick to grant apps all the permissions they’re requesting. Once you know what to look for, it’s easy to spot a bad app.

Install Latest Updates

Download and install OS updates when they are released. New updates will sometimes contain repairs to fix known holes in your smartphone’s security (vulnerability fixes).  You should also update the apps on your phone regularly.

Do Not Volunteer Personal Information

If you ever get an email or text saying you’ve won the lottery or asking for your personal information, don’t respond. Some emails or even texts contain links to malicious websites that may try to steal your data or infect your phone. If you don’t know the source, do not give away your personal information.

Finally

While Malware is not as big a problem as it could be, it’s still a growing concern – and it’s something you should be wary of. If you take a few precautions, though, and download an anti-virus app, chances are you will successfully be able to keep your smartphone safe from thieves. You might also want to get insurance coverage, just in case you lose your smartphone or it gets stolen.