There are an estimated 3.5 billion smartphone users in the world today. Phones in 2020 are more like miniature computers than the phones of old. Their main functions no longer revolve around traditional phonecalls. A mobile device is now an extension of our body that gives us access to information in the blink of an eye.
We are more connected than ever through social media applications. Everyday tasks are seamless with the aid of a trusty app. E-mails, banking, shopping, gaming, filming, and entertainment content are all a mere click away.
Not only have phones become extremely valuable to us as people, but they have also increased in monetary value. Smartphones are not cheap, and some of the higher-end options can cost thousands.
With the noted increase in function and value, it’s paramount that people take the necessary measures to protect their phones. A durable case is no longer protection enough. Although useful, a protective phone cover can only prevent physical damage. Much more action is needed to keep you and your smartphone safe from hackers and cybercriminals.
Your smartphone is likely to have access to private information and data about you, your livelihood, and your finances. This makes you a legitimate target for cyber theft.
Here are eight tips to help protect you from hackers and cybercriminals.
1. Keep your system and applications updated
Phone and application companies are continually striving to improve their services. Phone systems and apps should be updated regularly to keep up with the latest improvements. Many of these updates contain improved security measures and patches, making them much safer to use.
Ensure that you update your Android or IOS system and your installed apps as soon as they become available.
2. Adjust app permissions
By default, many people take the easy route when installing an app and allow all permissions that have been requested. You might be shocked at the data you’ve granted access to. Go through your app permissions and decide what information you are comfortable allowing access to. Manage these permissions manually.
3. Use strong passwords
We are regularly reminded to create secure passwords when setting up an account on a phone or computer. The problem occurs when people forget these passwords and revert to their regular ones.
Using the same password for an extended period across various accounts dramatically increases the chances of being hacked.
Create a strong password using a combination of letters, numbers, and symbols. Ensure that you change it 3 to 4 times per year for maximum security.
You should also have a unique pin and screen lock for your mobile to prevent someone from accessing your phone if it’s stolen.
4. Use two-factor authentication
Two-factor authentication is a security measure whereby two levels of verification are needed to access or log-in to a device or account. For example, you may need to provide a numerical code and a fingerprint to unlock someone’s phone.
Your smartphone should have this option for the lock screen. Many apps will have this feature also. It is most important to enable two-factor authentication for mobile banking apps.
5. Install a tracker app
Many phones will let you track a phone location without installing any software. They come equipped with a tracking option that allows you to access your phone remotely if it’s lost or stolen. Alternatively, there are free tracking apps that offer identical services. Some apps can also detect location data to provide scam warnings on phone calls and texts.
6. Be careful with public wi-fi
Public wi-fi can be very dangerous when it comes to hacking and cyber theft. These networks are vulnerable to such crimes and are targeted by criminals.
You should avoid public wi-fi where possible and only connect in situations where it’s necessary. Never access financial apps or documents from the cloud when you are connected to public wi-fi networks.
7. Enable security alerts
Enabling security alerts on your mobile phone allows you to detect suspicious activity early. Most platforms and programs will provide the option of enabling alerts. You can customize how these alerts are sent to you, ensuring that it’s safe and convenient. They also give peace of mind that you will be notified as soon as a potential threat is found.
8. Back up your data
Backing up your important data gives you a lifeline if your mobile device is hacked. It’s always important to prepare for a “just in case” scenario. Should your data or information be stolen via your mobile phone, you will be relieved that you have it backed up somewhere. It could end up saving your career and social life significant struggle.