Advertising
Advertising

12 Ways To Secure Your Smartphone

12 Ways To Secure Your Smartphone

How secure is your smartphone? If you’re like most people, it probably isn’t as secure as you think it is. While we’ve been absorbing desktop privacy and protection advice for decades, mobile is still a relatively new phenomenon. People simply aren’t aware of the amount of data and private information that their phone is transmitting, sharing, and processing all the time. This has led to a growth in mobile device hacking and malware downloads, as the morally unscrupulous exploit the technological naivety of their fellow gadget users.

Can you tell if you’ve been hacked or downloaded something bad? Sometimes, but a lot of the time users are in the dark about whether their mobile security has been compromised–and often they find out too late.

You should care more about your mobile safety. To help you be more proactive, here are some tips to boost your smartphone security.

1. Use a passcode lock

This is an absolute must. If your phone is lost or stolen, not using a passcode lock means you’re giving a complete stranger instant access to a range of sensitive information, including notes, contacts, and appointments. Use a memorable code and make sure your phone auto-locks after a set period of time.

Advertising

2. Stay off unsecured Wi-Fi

It’s long been known that using unsecured public Wi-Fi is a bad idea, and yet many of us are still happy to connect in cafes and bars. This makes it easy for hackers to gain access to your data via Wi-Fi connections, and to use that information against you without you realising it. Avoid networks without the padlock icon.

3. Beware unofficial apps

There are plenty of respectable third-party apps that use a domain’s API to create their own mobile version of the site (i.e. Hootsuite for Twitter or Alien Blue for Reddit). But before you download a knock-off of Flappy Bird or Minecraft, learn how to spot fakes so you’re confident it’s a legitimate app.

4. Update your operating system

Android has historically experienced more hacks, malware, and trojans because users aren’t updating to the latest OS. Last year, the BBC revealed that less than half of Android users were running the most up-to-date software. In comparison, more than 93% of Apple users were running the latest version of iOS. This left Android users more vulnerable, and serves as a lesson to pay attention to those update messages.

Advertising

Beware of rogue messaging apps

    5. Avoid storing passwords

    Setting your apps to remember passwords and login information is convenient, but it’s also making it easier for hackers and scammers to access your private accounts. In reality, most of us aren’t going to log out of our email and social media apps/sites, but make sure you never leave pre-completed login details on your banking apps/sites.

    6. Remove home address information

    As time goes on, our devices increasingly ‘want’ more of our personal data to find the most relevant contextual information for us. A classic example is knowing your home address so applications can get personalised travel updates and local recommendations. This is an added security issue if your smartphone’s security is compromised. Avoid bookmarking, dropping map pins, or creating any other kind of record of where you live on your smartphone.

    7. Download mobile protection software

    It’s a good idea to make sure you’re always protected against the most common forms of mobile malware, spyware, and any other kind of digital nasty that could end up killing your device or stealing your personal data. There are a variety of apps you can download; some providers, such as AVG, offer free and paid versions.

    Advertising

    AVG for mobile

      8. Customize your phone

      Not all of us are techie enough to jailbreak our devices, but if you are this could detract or simply confuse most thieves to ensure you’re a lot safer. By using bespoke icons and renaming apps you could create a baffling experience for a low-tech criminal.

      9. Take control of your app permissions

      A lot of apps you download want to access information from other apps and sites. Pay close attention to what permissions you’re giving away when you download anything, and regularly audit your apps and related permissions as sites often amend their terms and conditions of use.

      10. Add anti-theft precautions

      What do you do if your phone is stolen? Be prepared by getting yourself set up with a good anti-theft or security tool. It’s also worth knowing that Apple’s Find My iPhone and Android’s Device Manager both help you track down your smartphone if it is lost or stolen.

      Advertising

      Apple's Find My iPhone

        11. Backup, backup, backup

        There are more ways you could try and secure your smartphone, but ultimately nothing will protect you from a sophisticated and determined hack or theft attempt. The right approach is to backup your data on a regular basis to limit the impact of losing control or possession of your phone.

        12. Enable remote wipe

        Finally, ensure that you have the power to remotely wipe your data. This ensures that if your smartphone security is ever compromised, you can always go for the nuclear option.

        Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com

        More by this author

        7 Ways Thinking Like a Poker Player Will Boost Your Career 7 Ways Thinking Like a Poker Player Will Boost Your Career 5 Killer Ways to Kickstart Your Career 5 Killer Ways to Kickstart Your Career Boost your smartphone security 12 Ways To Secure Your Smartphone Chris Hadfield on the ISS 10 Inspiring Life Lessons from Astronaut Chris Hadfield

        Trending in Technology

        1 8 Replacements for Google Notebook 2 7 Tools to Help Keep Track of Goals and Habits Effectively 3 7 Clever Goal Tracker Apps to Make the Most of Your Business in 2019 4 10 Smartest Productivity Software to Improve Your Work Performance 5 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools (2019 Updated)

        Read Next

        Advertising
        Advertising
        Advertising

        Last Updated on May 14, 2019

        8 Replacements for Google Notebook

        8 Replacements for Google Notebook

        Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

        1. Zoho Notebook
          If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
        2. Evernote
          The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
        3. Net Notes
          If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
        4. i-Lighter
          You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
        5. Clipmarks
          For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
        6. UberNote
          If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
        7. iLeonardo
          iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
        8. Zotero
          Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

        I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

        Advertising

        In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

        Advertising

        Advertising

        Read Next