Your cell phone holds some of your most sensitive personal information. Things like your passwords and account numbers, emails, text messages, photos, and videos. If your phone ends up in the wrong hands, someone could steal your identity, buy stuff with your money, or hack into your email or social media accounts. Here’s how to protect your phone.
1. Lock your Phone
Locking your phone with facial ID, a fingerprint, pattern or a pin is your most basic form of protection, particularly in the event of loss or theft. (Your options will vary depending on the device, operating system, and manufacturer.) Whichever the case, choose the unlock method that will be easier to use on a day to day basis. Typically, this will be biometric authentication.
2. Update your Software
While it can be easy to postpone updates, a lot of these updates provide critical security patches and/or enhancements. If there are known vulnerabilities in an OS or app, you can bet that threat actors are going to take advantage of them. Keeping your apps and phone systems up to date will keep you one step ahead of the would-be hackers.
3. Back Up your Data
Keeping frequent backups of your phone is good for several reasons. Even if your phone doesn’t get lost or stolen, having a complete backup of your phone makes the transition to a new phone so much easier.
But, if your phone does get lost or stolen, you can wipe the data on that phone remotely while having the peace of mind that you still have access to all of your data. Remember, if you don’t have at least three copies of your data, then your data doesn’t really exist.
4. Download Apps from Official App Stores
This mostly applies to Android users, as Apple’s app-vetting process is much stricter than Google’s. Additionally, you can download third-party apps with Android, allowing for the potential to download a malicious app.
Also, don’t download sketchy or unreputable apps, and be mindful of what permissions you grant apps. Some apps request access to your camera, microphone, photos, etc. While some apps obviously have legit uses for this, it opens you up for fraud if you mindlessly give access to everything that just any app requests.
It is also a good practice to uninstall apps you no longer use, and ensure the ones you do use are kept up to date.
5. Be Prepared to Track and Locate your Phone
Worst case scenario—your phone is gone. Really gone. Either it’s hopelessly lost or got stolen. What now? Lock it remotely or even wipe its data entirely. While that last bit about wiping the phone seems like a drastic move, if you maintain regular backups, your data is secure in the cloud—ready for you to restore. In all, this means that hackers won’t be able to access you, or your company’s, sensitive information—which can keep you out of trouble and your professional business safe.
6. Follow Information Security Best Practices
Use a VPN to connect privately when you are on insecure public networks at airports, cafes, hotels, and the like.
Use a password manager to generate strong and secure passwords for your online accounts, and setup 2FA for your most sensitive accounts.
Frequently clear your browsing history, and log out of sensitive accounts after use i.e. online banking accounts.
Keep your device with you at all times. Physical access is the easiest way for a hacker to corrupt your phone.
Protect your phone by getting security software installed on it.