You’ve probably read plenty about hacker attacks and ways to secure your computer however, for some reason, people don’t care all about security for smartphones.
Perhaps because it’s not traditional hard drives where you keep every document, image, and video, however, today’s highly active smartphone users are able to store lots of data that are quite sensitive, and which others such as hackers happily take while browsing the internet at Starbucks.
Fortunately, security for smartphones is getting more popular and there are a lot of options you can take to protect your smartphone from getting hacked. In reality, many of the methods you employ to safeguard your computer could be applied to your smartphone, too. If you’ve got your own ideas for safeguarding your phone, let us know via the comments below.
1. Use Passcodes Everywhere
If you own either an Android smartphone or iPhone You can block the access of your phone by using the passcode or lock patterns on Android. This simple security feature can stop sensitive information from being read by others.
This is crucial when you have a lot of apps that contain personal information stored, such as financial apps (Mint banks, banking apps, etc.) Journal apps (DayOne) as well as note apps (Evernote) and so on. For some of these apps, such as Mint and DayOne you can set up an individual passcode for the application, which I typically add to the passcode to secure your home screen.
The password for the home screen is crucial because many email applications (Mail in the iPhone or Gmail for Android) don’t have the option to allow you to unlock your email. Emails can be full of personal information. Also, since many people attend events leaving their smartphones on tables or counters, it’s simple for anyone to get on your personal information.
2. Protect Your iCloud & Google Account
The other thing people aren’t aware of is that if someone is able to access an account on iCloud as well as a Google account, the user could gain access to lots of information that you could have created and edited using your phone. These days, it’s an inconvenience to allow 2-step verification for both of the accounts. In my previous post, I’ve discussed how to protect the security of your Google accounts and also how to set up backup and recovery options that support 2 step verification.
It’s a bit ridiculous and yet your Apple ID effectively controls access to each and every Apple service currently available including iTunes and iCloud and FaceTime, to iMessage and more. If anyone is able to access an Apple account, it are able to cause havoc to your Apple life, including wiping out any data from your iPhone, iPad and Mac remotely.
It’s the exact same with Google. Your Google account is basically logging you into the entire range of Google services, from YouTube up to Gmail through Google Play to Google Maps to Google Calendar to Picasa to Google+, etc, etc, etc.
3. Avoid Jailbreaking or Rooting Your Smartphone
If you know exactly the ropes and hack or root your device to have pleasure and fun and enjoyment, then great for you. If you’re planning to do it because you read about it in the media and would like to feel “free” from constraints and limitations, then stay clear of the procedure altogether.
First, it could cause damage to your phone and cause more stress than happiness. Furthermore, you won’t be able to upgrade your phone to the latest versions of the OS because it’s locked in an incompatible mode.
Yes, you are able to install certain applications and alter settings that you normally wouldn’t, but that means that you’re downloading applications that could be contaminated with malware. There’s a problem with that on Android because they’re not as strict as Apple on what is available in apps in the store. This brings us to the next issue.
4. Be Careful With the Apps You Install
This is particularly important for Android devices. Google has recently taken down 50 000 apps believed to be guilty of malware. There’s no lack of applications that include malware, viruses, or other malware that could take your personal data and damage your phone.
It’s true that the Apple app store has this issue but to a lesser degree. Apple examines every app before it is included in the store. It frequently removes applications from the store when they are believed to be in violation of store policy.
Read the article that discusses the fact that more than 32 million Android devices were infected by malware in 2012, and how the majority of malware targeted Android devices.
It’s okay if you don’t like Apple however the reality is that if you have one of the Android devices, you’ll need to be extremely cautious when downloading applications. Read the reviews, check whether they have websites, conduct a search on Google using the app’s name, etc.
5. Use an App Instead of the Browser
If you’re banking on your phone, stock trading, or any other activity that transfers sensitive data through your smartphone to the Internet It is recommended to use an official application for the site or business instead of opening the browser that’s installed on your phone.
For instance, Chase, Bank of America, Vanguard, ScottTrade, Mint, and lots of other major banks have apps on iOS as well as Android. Secure connections are accessible in mobile browsers too however you’ll be more secure if you use an official application that might include additional security features.
6. Control What an App Can Access
There are many variations of “AppName Would Like to Access Your Data” messages. Data can be photos, location, contacts, etc, etc. Always be aware and don’t click OK every time. If you do this every day it’s best to select to not allow and, if you truly cannot use the app, later on, you’ll be able to manually log in and alter the permissions so that you can access it. Many of these are legitimate and shouldn’t do any harm, however, it’s best to be secure.
On Android, this is even more problematic as some apps request permissions to do all things even though they don’t need them. Read this Lifehacker article about how to safeguard yourself from Android applications that ask for excessive permissions. There are also more permissions for Android than they are on iOS and, therefore, you need to be vigilant in the event that you are an Android user.
7. Keep Data Backed Up
It’s not just a great idea to keep your phone back up in case you fall into the restroom, but in the event that it’s stolen and you must remote wipe it clean. Apple users can download their own Find My iPhone app, which allows you to remotely lock your phone remotely and wipe it clean if you suspect that it’s stolen.
If you don’t have your information backup then you’ll lose all your data should it be stolen. If you save it locally or via the cloud then you’ll be able to erase your phone and have all your data back onto the new device. You can connect your phone to your computer via iTunes or backup your phone to the cloud with iCloud.
On Android, there’s an inbuilt backup program, but it won’t be able to backup all the data on your phone the way iOS does. Instead, you’ll have to depend on third-party apps available in the Google Play store to backup your phone in full. It is important to note that Android also comes with the option to wipe your phone remotely but you’ll have to set it up first by installing certain applications.
8. Report Your Phone Stolen
In the last couple of months, there was a database of stolen phones developed that is shared by the top wireless carriers. It is possible to report your phone stolen, and this will stop anybody from connecting to the network and using minutes or data.
If they attempt to erase it, or replace the SIM or replace it, however, it will not allow the user to sign up on any of the carriers due to that the serial numbers are not valid. The pages below to report your stolen smartphone and stop the burglar not connecting with any wireless network:
9. Update the OS
Like you need to regularly download Microsoft security updates on your computer, it’s a best practice to install the most current updates to your phone. It’s possible to wait sometime and make sure that there aren’t any major issues with the update such as the loss of battery life, If nothing is noticeable, then upgrade the phone.
Alongside updating your OS in addition, it’s an excellent idea to update any apps you have installed on your smartphone. It’s incredible how many phones I’ve seen with 10 or 20 applications that are updated, that haven’t been installed. The updates might have new features, however, most of these include bug fixes as well as performance and security corrections.
10. Wireless & Bluetooth
If you’re away from home, attempt to turn off the Bluetooth and wireless altogether and make use of your 4G or 3G connection if you are able to. Once you connect to a shady wireless connection, your phone is exposed to hackers looking for victims on the network. Even when you’re not banking or performing any other activity which involves sensitive data hackers can still attempt to access via your mobile and steal your personal information, etc.
In the case of Bluetooth hacking, hacking isn’t as usual, however, it’s growing in popularity as more people make use of the technology for more than the headsets. There are now watches that connect to your phone using Bluetooth, fitness bands and numerous other devices. If Bluetooth is turned on and searchable, it offers hackers another opportunity to detect the information being transferred between the Bluetooth gadget and the phone.
Hope these tips can help you in the unlikely event that your phone is stolen or lost. I’ve had to erase my iPhone since I lost it, then discovered that someone had been accessing the applications and connection. This won’t be the case again, no matter if my phone gets lost or stolen since I’ve ensured it’s protected to the best degree. If you have other suggestions for protecting your phone, tell us about it by leaving a comment. Enjoy!