With the spread of smartphones, life became much more convenient for the average person, but it also became a lot easier for hackers. As the role of the smartphone has grown to encompass everything from personal banking to important work correspondence, so has the value of the smartphone increased for bad actors with ill intentions for its precious contents. Many of us are now walking around with a treasure trove of information in our pocket or purse. How can you ensure that your personal and professional data is safe? Start with the five suggestions below.
1. Set Up Remote Wipe
If you’re someone who loses your things frequently, this is a way of mitigating the fallout from that mistake. You can enable a feature on most Android Phones and all iPhones to remotely purge all data from the phone, so that someone who steals it or comes across it coincidentally won’t be able to access your information and use it. You can authorize remote wipe as soon as you realize your device is lost, and as soon as it connects to the Internet or mobile data, it will begin deleting its contents.
2. Encrypt Your Phone Storage
Another important countermeasure in case your phone is lost or stolen, this also protects against hackers who try to get at your information while the phone is still in your possession. You can set your phone to encrypt its storage, so that your photos, passwords, e-mails, and more will be unintelligible to people trying to gain access. It’s an easy way to encode your info so it’s less vulnerable to snoops.
3. Use A Complex Passcode or Your Fingerprint
Using your birthday as a passcode (or worse, 0000) is not good enough to protect your phone and its contents—people can easily find this information if they know who owns the phone, before or after stealing it, and if you leave it somewhere vulnerable, they can even get in and out without you knowing anything’s amiss. Choose a complex code and change it frequently. If you have a newer phone, opt for the fingerprint scan method to unlock the phone, as it’s the most difficult to fake.
4. Don’t Click on Free Downloads Or Pop Up Ads
Mobile browsing is easier than it used to be, but there are still a ton of ads that pop up or slide out of nowhere when you’re using the Internet. Avoid the temptation to click these, even if they’re promising an overnight fortune or the vacation of your dreams, as they’ll often download malware.
5. Double Check Every App
You might think you can implicitly trust anything that’s on the App Store or the Google Play Store, but history shows that unscrupulous app developers have been able to sneak so-called “Trojan Horse” software onto these exchanges before. Check all the permissions that a new app asks for to make sure they’re all necessary, and read reviews before downloading anything. Even if you think your phone’s data is inconsequential, there’s somebody out there who’s dying to get their hands on it. Take the suggestions above to help keep your data secure.