Your pocket-sized mobile device is a dream target for cybercriminals. Follow these 10 tips to improve your security and protect your personal information.
- 1 #1: Download apps only from trusted sources
- 2 #2: Keep your OS up to date
- 3 #3: Remove apps you no longer use
- 4 #4: Set a passcode
- 5 #5: Turn off location sharing
- 6 #6: Review app permissions
- 7 #7: Use VPN when connecting to Wi-Fi
- 8 #8: Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not using
- 9 #9: Password-protect everything
- 10 #10: Avoid storing sensitive information
#1: Download apps only from trusted sources
Downloading apps from unofficial sources is risky because you can’t tell what you’re actually getting – a legit application or a malicious program set to infect your mobile device. Google and Apple have strict screening and reviewing processes to prevent dodgy software from landing in their app stores. That’s why Play Store and iTunes should be your go-to places for getting apps.
#2: Keep your OS up to date
Never skip updates as they are a crucial element in your mobile security. By issuing updates, operating system developers not only bring new features but also patch security vulnerabilities.
#3: Remove apps you no longer use
Often, we download apps for a specific purpose – let’s say, for planning a trip. We use them for a while, but after we’re done with the trip planning, we forget about them. So these apps quietly sit on your device without being updated, leaving potential security vulnerabilities unpatched. Keep your device clean by reviewing your app collection from time to time and getting rid of those you’re no longer using.
#4: Set a passcode
Keep your private information away from prying eyes by setting up a passcode on your phone’s lock screen. It’s one of the easiest things you can do to protect your mobile device: if someone else tries to use your smartphone to access data or slip in malware, it won’t be an easy task with that passcode set up.
#5: Turn off location sharing
Location data is one of the most intimate bits of data you may be unknowingly disclosing to third-parties. While location information can be necessary for some apps to deliver their features, like Google Maps, in other cases, it may be used to track you secretly. The good thing is, you can decide with whom you want to share your geographical data by managing your location sharing settings per app.
#6: Review app permissions
When downloading an app, dedicate a moment to review the permissions it is asking before you hit the ‘Install’ button. If they seem too extensive for rather simple app functionalities, this may be a warning sign of a malicious app. As for the apps you already have, you can always manage their permission via settings.
#7: Use VPN when connecting to Wi-Fi
Nothing good comes for free – when you connect to public Wi-Fi, it’s relatively easy for cybercriminals to see what you’re doing online. Even while in incognito mode, you might give away your banking details, passwords, and other sensitive information in a blink. Secure your online data by using a VPN app for your Android or iOS device. VPN, or virtual private network, protect your privacy with data encryption, so you’re safe from hackers and other unwanted snoopers.
#8: Turn off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when not using
If you value your privacy, disable Bluetooth and Wi-FI when you’re not using it. The thing is, sometimes merchants use tech to catch these signals to track your location or movements.
#9: Password-protect everything
Where possible, set separate passwords for apps that contain sensitive information. Even if someone manages to go through your phone’s lock screen, opening specific apps to get hands on your personal data would be way harder than simply tapping to open.
#10: Avoid storing sensitive information
It may seem like a great idea to carry your personal data, such as passwords, banking details or ID info, everywhere you go by storing it in your smartphone. However, by doing so, you’re putting yourself at risk of identity theft if someone with bad intentions gets access to your device. Also, it is worth deleting text and voice messages that contain sensitive information about you.