Smart gadgets have become a necessity in today’s digital era. Our devices are full of sensitive information such as passwords, personal photos, emails and it becomes necessary to take certain security measures to make sure it does not end up in the wrong hands. These could be your nosy relatives or hackers seeking to get your personal information. In this article, we explore 9 measures you can take to protect your device from snoopers.
- Lock your phone
While this tip may seem straightforward, many people still neglect it. Having to type your password whenever you need to use your phone can be annoying. A screen lock will get the job done, and it is worth the hustle.
Tech experts agree that using a PIN is the best screen lock method to secure your phone. Patterns, voice recognition, and fingerprint are easy to hack. Phones that let you draw a pattern to unlock might seem safe, but it’s possible to guess yours by watching you enter it or replicating your finger smudge.
A good password should be strong and complicated. It should have upper and lower case letters, numbers and symbols. This makes it much harder for third parties to crack even when they use an algorithm software available on the internet. It is advisable to set your phone to automatically apply the screen lock after 30 seconds or 1 minute of inactivity.
Use device encryption
Encryption is a great way to prevent third parties from accessing your information. According to Dusan Petricko, who is a Digital Forensics Manager and Cybersecurity Manager at LIFARS LLC, you should encrypt your phone storage, closing all entryways for hackers. Even if your device is stolen, it will be tough to access your data with encryption.
Use an anti-virus app
Most people find it easy to install antivirus software on their computer but forget to get one for their smartphones. Phones are more vulnerable to attacks than computers and must be protected as well.
There are a number of good antivirus applications available on Google Play Store for free. By having an antivirus installed on your phone, you protect not only your phone but also your computer. That’s because you rule out transmission of malware, virus or Trojan from your smartphone to your PC through a USB connection (this actually happens more often than you think).
There is a debate on whether or not antivirus apps can detect spy programs. The safe answer is no – antivirus and security apps will only find what they have been programmed to find.
Install your updates
It is advisable to install updates as quickly as possible. The device manufacturers and app developers issue updates regularly. They improve your phone’s functionality while also strengthening its security.
Turn off your Bluetooth
If a hacker is within 25-30 feet of your device, they can access it through your Bluetooth connections, getting to your data and private information in seconds. This is known as bluesnarfing or bluebugging. It is therefore essential to switch on your Bluetooth only when you need it and switch it off immediately when you’re done.
Be careful when using public Wi-Fi networks
Whenever you can, you will always try to save up on your data plan and shift to a Wi-Fi connection instead. However, public Wi-Fi is a hackers’ pool where cybercriminals are forever scanning for soft spots to steal your information. If you are using public Wi-Fi, be sure to use a VPN (Virtual Private Network) as a safety measure. But do pay attention to it reliability. This NordVPN review might help you out.
Have you ever noticed the amount of information apps ask to access when you are about to install them? Yes, this is how most applications are able to connect you with the rest of the world. However, before downloading an app from the Android Play Store, read through the customer reviews (the real ones – some are quite obviously made up). Scrutinize the developer and research on their previous apps.
When an app requests for permission during installation, go through and see if it makes sense to you. For example, why would a game need access to your phone’s camera? It is advisable to download apps from Google Play Store and even then, fact-check and do some research for each app you download.
While you may find it convenient to stay logged into Paypal, Amazon and your bank account for ease of access, it is a dangerous practice. Don’t leave your phone logged into an account that is directly connected to your finances. In the event that your device is stolen, the assailant will have unlimited access to your funds. Uncheck the checkboxes that ask to keep your login information, such as password and username.
Wipe your old gadgets clean
When you upgrade to a new device, be sure to clean up the older one by completely wiping out the internal memory. You do this by factory-resetting the device.
The bottom line
You have a right to privacy on your smartphone, but it’s up to you to take steps to prevent unwanted third parties from poking through your digital life. If you apply these simple tips and precautions, you will be safe from security threats.