Much like desktop computers and tablets, smartphones are also susceptible to cyber attacks. Many users who don’t do much on their computers besides browse the net have been ditching the good old PC and replacing it with a smartphone instead. With the screen sizes getting larger, a mobile camera better than some point-and-shoot digital cameras, and these devices being equipped with quicker processors than before, what’s not to love?
It’s not uncommon to hear someone say that their smartphone is quicker than their PC, and since the ability to carry it around easily and make phone calls on the go is typically considered important, it’s really no wonder why smartphones are becoming the number one access point to the internet for many consumers. The problem is that although smartphones connect to the internet, it’s sometimes hard to think of them as having similar security risks to PCs because there’s a tendency to view them as you would the older model mobile phones that did not have internet capabilities.
It’s easy to think of your smartphone as just another phone, rather than a handheld mobile computer, and by doing so, it’s much easier to forget to properly secure it. So how do you go about securing your smartphone in the first place? Let’s take a look.
Step One: Install Security Apps.
Let’s get straight to the point: security apps are your best bet when it comes to securing your smartphone. They’ll do most of the work for you, so you can spend more time enjoying your phone instead of worrying about whether or not you’re using an unsecured network. The first app I recommend that you install is called Avast Free Mobile Security.
Yes, there are other anti-virus apps available, but this one comes with some nifty anti-theft features that could come to the rescue one day. If your device is ever stolen, you’ll be able to determine its whereabouts by using Avast’s website. You can also wipe your data off of your smartphone so the thief won’t have access to any personal information you’ve left on your device.
After you’ve got that installed, check out ExpressVPN. It’s a Virtual Private Network (VPN) app that will secure your connection and hide your location. This way, you’ll always be able to use public WiFi (which, unfortunately, isn’t secure at all) without any worries. An added benefit of using a VPN app is that you’ll be able to unblock websites too, which can help a lot when you’re traveling.
If you’ve never heard of a VPN before and are wondering exactly what it is, in basic terms, it’s a remote server that acts as an encrypted tunnel through which your internet traffic is routed.This is how you’re able to hide your location; the remote server’s IP address will be shown instead of yours and keep hackers at bay.
To learn more about what ExpressVPN has to offer, check out Secure Thoughts’ review.
Step Two: Utilize Your Phone’s Features
Though you may not be completely unaware of this, it’s important to mention that your smartphone has a few features that can help you keep it properly secured. One of these features is the lock screen. The lock screen on your phone might seem a bit unnecessary at times, but if you add a password to it, you’ll come to realize that there’s a great use for it.
Maybe you need to leave your smartphone unattended for a few minutes or you just don’t really trust leaving it in the other room while it’s charging. Anyone who has access to your phone, whether they are hackers or just friends or family hanging out at your apartment, can easily obtain a portion of personal information just by browsing through your device. If you have a password on your lock screen, you’ll no longer have to worry too much if you need to walk away from your phone for a minute or so.
It’s easy to set this up too. Just take a look at the settings on your smartphone, and you should find that you can switch your lock screen from the usual “swipe” mechanism to the “password” option.
Step 3: Additional Security Tips
There are a few other things you should take into consideration when it comes to properly securing your smartphone. First, be aware of what you are downloading or which links you are accessing. Sometimes they can come along with security threats.
Even if the apps seem safe, there’s a chance that they might not be. App stores have an increasingly large amount of apps added to them on a regular basis, and it’s not likely for them all to be checked for security threats right as they enter the market. Read the reviews before you download, and consider even doing a Google search on the title of the app.
It’s also important to always read the user permissions, as you are accepting their conditions when you download the app and sometimes app developers could actually be using their apps as a sly way to access your personal information. Ask yourself if what they’re attempting to access sounds logical given what the app is used for.
As for links, these can be trickier since they can sometimes appear to be completely legitimate. The best advice as far as these go is to avoid downloading or sharing your personal information as much as possible, and when in doubt, check the URL first before opening the page. You can do this by tapping and holding your finger down on the link for a few seconds. On most smartphones, a box should appear that displays the actual URL.
Sometimes you might be offered an update or two for your Operating System (OS). By keeping your OS up to date, you can avoid some security threats because the updates typically contain system vulnerability patches. The longer an OS is out on the market, the longer hackers have had to determine ways to hack into them.
When protecting your smartphone, security apps and your lock screen are going to do most of the work. However, you can still do your part to protect it as well by avoiding unfamiliar websites, sticking to trusted sources to download apps, and not storing your passwords or credit card information on your device. Another way you can avoid security threats is by logging out of your online accounts when you’re done using them.
Even with your lock screen password protected, there’s always a slight chance that someone might be able to guess the password (though not extremely likely if you’re using a strong one), and you definitely do not want them getting into your online accounts. On the bright side, with your smartphone properly secured, it’s unlikely that you’ll encounter security breaches any time soon. But that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t still use additional preventative measures when possible.