11 Smartphone Security Tips to Protect Your Phone

11 Smartphone Security Tips to Protect Your Phone

In a world where we use our smartphones more than anything else, it's crucial that we raise awareness regarding smartphone security.

In a world where we use our smartphones more than anything else, it's crucial that we raise awareness regarding smartphone security.

Smartphones are not bulletproof when it comes to security, and there are ways in which your mobile can get compromised and a hacker might steal your personal information or, worst, your money.

Fortunately, there are ways in which you can strengthen your smartphone security and secure your phone from hackers.

We'll give you the best smartphone security tips but first, you should know what the risks are so you better know how to deal with certain threats.


Why is smartphone security important?

Securing your smartphone is crucial for various reasons.

Firstly, your smartphone is the place where you store all kinds of sensitive and private information. From your contacts and photos to log in credentials and passwords. If you lose your phone or it gets stolen, you'll lose all the data and, worst, someone can get hold of it and misuse it for their personal gain.

Another risk you are subjected to when your smartphone is not properly secured is that it can easily get hacked. Hackers have lots of ways to hack into a mobile phone. One of the most common risks for smartphones is malicious websites. If you happen to visit the wrong website containing hidden malware, your phone will get infected and a hacker can gain access to your phone and private information.

Hackers can also exploit certain vulnerabilities of your smartphone, such as an outdated operating system or app.

You should also know that it doesn't matter what type of smartphone you have. While Android phones are considered to have higher security risks, iOS, BlackBerry and Windows devices are also subjected to security threats.

Smartphone security statistics

If you don't take our word for it, let's take a look over some statistics from the research conducted by NowSecure that shows the most common vulnerabilities in mobile phones.

  • More than 50% of Android users use a version of Android that is two or more years old.
  • A month after release, only 55% of iOS users had the most recent version of iOS 11 installed.
  • 35% of the data sent by mobile devices is unencrypted. More than 1/3 of the data transmitted by a device is exposed.
  • An average, each mobile device connects to 160 unique IP addresses every day. The more servers your mobile connects to, the riskier it is.
  • 43% of smartphone users don't use a pattern lock, passcode or PIN on their mobile phone.
  • 82% of Android devices were susceptible to at least one of 25 vulnerabilities in the Android operating system.
  • Business apps are more likely to leak personal and corporate data.
  • Social media apps are three times more likely than the average app to expose the user's password for that app.
  • One in four mobile apps includes at least one high-risk security flaw.
  • The more popular an app, the more likely for it to include a security flaw. Half of apps with five to ten million downloads includes a security flaw.

Smartphone security tips

1. Lock your screen

The first level of security for your smartphone that should not lack from your device is the locked screen. Without a password to protect your phone, anyone with access to your phone is able to access your data. To protect your smartphone from snooping eyes or in case it gets stolen, use one of the ways to lock your screen.

Here are the most common ways to lock your smartphone offered on most devices nowadays.

Using a strong password offers the highest level of security. The downside is that it's inconvenient to type the password many times each day.

PIN codes are also an efficient way to lock your mobile phone and easier to type than a password. It's best to use a longer PIN code, although it is harder to remember. Still, PIN codes are difficult to guess if you don't use common combinations (1234, 3333) or personal data such as your birthday.

Pattern locks are the easiest to use but they might not be the best way to secure your phone. This is because most people chose an easy and predictable combination using only four or five dots. If you decide to use a pattern, think outside the box with the shapes. another great tip here is to make a habit to often clean your screen as the finger traces can be visible.

Fingerprints are an easy and secure way to lock your phone and it's the most preferred method for most users. The only inconvenience is that you can't use it with gloves on, but you can always use a backup method for unlocking your phone.

2. Secure your data

It's pretty easy for someone to get hold of the data and files stored on your phone. All someone needs to do is connect the phone to a computer or remove the microSD card. To make sure no one can get access to your files, use encryption software. These kinds of software will encrypt your files and you'll set up a code that must be entered in order to access the files. You can find various free encryption software out there, you only need to find the right one for your needs.

3. Lock your SIM

Locking your screen is great for your smartphone security, but it doesn't prevent someone from removing the SIM from your phone and accessing your contacts. To make sure your SIM card is secure in case someone steals your phone, use a PIN code. The PIN code needs to be entered each time a phone is turned on in order for the SIM to connect to the network.

4. Back up your data

If your phone gets stolen, you can say goodbye to all the data stored on your devices such as photos and contacts. To avoid losing precious information, always back up your data. You can store it on OneDrive or Dropbox. For iPhone users, you can back up data on iCloud.

5. WiFi security

You probably use a WiFi network to use the internet most of the times. So it's important to know that wireless networks can be a concern for security. The first thing you want to do is to make sure your home network connection is properly secured. Secondly, review your smartphone's network security settings and don't allow it to automatically connect to networks if they are in range as you can find yourself connecting to the wrong network.

If you are not sure about how to take care of your WiFi security, we got you covered.

6. Be extra cautious of public WiFi spots

Public WiFi networks are the favorite place for hackers to steal users' private information and money. Connecting to a public WiFi spot puts your smartphone security and privacy at risk so you should be extra careful the next time you visit a coffee shop or a hotel. You shouldn't use a public WiFi network to check your bank account, make money transactions, and even to connect to various accounts (such as your email). If you want to use public WiFis without worrying about your smartphone security, using a VPN service is the most effective way to secure your phone.

We covered this topic in-depth if you'd like to learn more about it.

7. Pay attention to the apps you install

You'd be surprised by how many apps you can find on the Play Store have hidden malware. If you download a malicious app, it will infect your phone and can result in someone stealing your private information.

Each time you install an app, make sure you carefully review the permissions you give it (such as accessing your contacts, camera, location). If it makes no sense for an app to ask for a specific permission, something might be off about it. For example, it makes sense for Google Maps to request permission to your location so it can provide you with the best nearby recommendations, but there's no reason for a mindfulness app to be curious about your whereabouts.

8. Be mindful about the websites you visit

The internet is full of malicious websites. You probably get across websites that push pop-ups on your screen. Whenever you see such a pop-up, you should immediately leave the websites as pop-ups are often infected with malware. Also, make sure the websites you access are HTTPS and a padlock in the address bar (it shows the website is encrypted). Never visit HTTP websites as they are not secure.

9. Use an antivirus software

Many people think that antivirus is exclusive for a desktop device. In reality, your smartphone security has the same risks of being infected with viruses and other types of malware, exactly as your desktop device. the most common ways for having your smartphone infected is through spam containing malware or malicious links. Once they make your way into your device, they will start exploiting operating system vulnerabilities, making it easy for hackers to steal your private information.

Be aware that there are antiviruses software designed to infect devices with malware. Make sure the software is trustworthy before downloading it to your smartphone.

10. Stay up to date

Make sure your operating system is always updated to the latest version. As I mentioned above, malware exploits vulnerabilities of the operating systems. An outdated software is a huge weakness for your smartphone security. Also, keep all the apps on your phone up to date. With each update, developers fix security patches and strengthen the security.

11. Remote clean up

In case your phone gets stolen, you want to be able to wipe all the data on it quickly and remotely. All operating systems have a feature that allows you to do so, even though they are not usually free but subscription based. But there are some antiviruses software out there that also give you the feature to remotely wipe out the data if needed.


Conclusion

Now that you are aware of the smartphone security threads and how to secure your phone from hackers, you should go on reviewing each of these tips.

To recap the most important aspects of smartphone security:

  • Always lock your screen. Fingerprints are one of the most effective methods to keep your mobile secure.
  • Secure your files by using an encryption software and also back up your data in a cloud service such as OneDrive.
  • Don't trust public WiFi networks, they are not secure. If you must use a public network, protect yourself by using a VPN.
  • Be extra careful about the apps you download and the websites you visit online.

Stay safe.

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