We rely on mobile devices for everything, from daily banking to checking emails to booking appointments. Your smartphone likely holds more personal information and connections to your financial assets than your wallet.
Even your old phone likely holds data that could be damaging if accessed by hackers. Are you doing enough to protect your mobile devices from cyber threats? Here are 10 tips to keep your phone safe:
How to Protect Mobile Devices
1. Use the Lock Screen
Many smartphone users don’t take this most basic step to secure their device. In fact, more than 28% of smartphone owners do not use a screen lock or other security features to access their phone, according to Pew Research. Navigate to the Settings of your mobile device to active this protection.
2. Use Strong Passwords and Pins
Don’t use the same password for all your devices. Change your passwords frequently and take advantage of biometric technology, like the fingerprint login option on many devices.
READ MORE: 3 Tips for Creating a Secure Password You Can Remember
3. Ensure Public and Free Wi-Fi is Secure
Turn off automatic wi-fi connectivity so that you can evaluate the safety of every network before connecting. Some wi-fi types, are more secure than others, such as WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) vs. WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy).
4. Never Jailbreak or Root
It can be tempting to jailbreak (with iOS) or root (with Android) to get around provider or device restrictions. Doing so, however, breaks down basic code which is intended to maintain security of the device.
5. Keep Location Settings Turned On
If your device is physically stolen, enabling your Location services within Settings might allow you to get your device back. In the least, you’ll have an idea of where it is.
6. Remove Sensitive or Important Files
Use a wireless USB flash drive to move sensitive files off your phone to store them elsewhere. You can even continue to edit these files on your phone without the necessity to keep them within the device itself.
7. Don’t Skip Updates
Security patches are among the most popular components of updates to mobile device firmware. Failing to update your device makes your risk of cyberattack exponentially greater.
8. Install an Antivirus App
Antivirus software isn’t just for your PC. Antivirus applications for your mobile device can delete your data if your device is lost or stolen. It can also delete browsing history and cookies.
9. Virtual Private Network (VPN) Offers a Safe Connection
Using a VPN offers an added layer of privacy if you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi network.
10. Encrypt Your Device
If hackers or thieves end up with your phone, you’ll need a second line of defense. Most mobile devices have built-in encryption that can be activated through Settings. Activate this feature to protect your data.