Follow these tips to enjoy your smartphone while maintaining security and privacy
Statisticians estimate the number of mobile phones in the world to be about 5 billion, with smartphones making up about half of them. That’s 2.5 billion smartphones in use, which means a good third of the world’s population is texting, FaceTiming, sending and receiving images, and using their phones for more than just talking. Even if you’re late to the smartphone party, there’s a good chance you’re using that smart mobile device every day, accumulating a lot of personal data.
Just follow these 9 tips for mobile protection and you will protect your smartphone from any threat.
- Lock your device with a password
Without this first layer of security, anyone who takes your phone can access your apps and the data on it. Set up a passcode that only you know, and simply enter it before using your phone. For those devices that allow it, you can also set a “Touch ID” that unlocks the phone in response to your fingerprint, or set a “Face ID” that unlocks the phone when the front camera recognizes you.
- Avoid suspicious links.
Any link you receive in an email or text should be viewed with a suspicious eye. If you don’t know the sender, don’t even think about clicking the link. If you know the sender, make sure they actually sent it to you before clicking. Fake email accounts, text messages, and messages that pretend to be a person or entity you know are common cyber tricks and are known as phishing . Don’t sting.
- Update your software immediately
Whenever an update is released for your device, download and install it right away. These updates often include security fixes, vulnerability patches, and other required maintenance.
- Use unique passwords for EVERY online account
Avoid reusing any password. When cybercriminals obtain a user’s password, they try that password for each of the user’s accounts. Don’t give them that kind of master key. The best practice is to use a password manager to create unique, hard-to-crack passwords . The advantage with a password manager is that it remembers all your passwords. Another option is to use phrases that you can remember. If you need to write them down, do so, but keep them away from your computer.
- Use a VPN on open Wi-Fi networks
It’s hard to avoid using open Wi-Fi: you’re busy, you’re away from home, and you need to do some online transactions. This is a common scenario: you are in a coffee shop and therefore you connect your phone to your unprotected Wi-Fi network and make your purchase or do a bank transaction on your mobile phone. We have all been there. So if you must use open Wi-Fi in a situation like this, get a VPN app for your mobile device. It makes you anonymous online, so you can use open Wi-Fi safely and stay out of the eyes of cybercriminals.
- Download apps from reputable app stores
Use only official app stores: Apple App Store if you have an iPhone or iPad, and Google Play Store if you have an Android device. It is very common for malware developers to create fake malicious apps and place them on shady third-party sites, hoping that someone will be naive enough to download them. Official app stores have a stricter selection process.
- Back up your data in the cloud
You will save yourself a lot of headaches if you keep a continuous backup of your phone. That way, if you ever lose it or it’s stolen, you still have all your up-to-date apps, data, and accounts in your backup.
- Enable remote wipe of your phone.
As a peace of mind extension to the last step, if your phone is lost or stolen, you can remotely wipe all your personal data from the memory. (And you don’t have to worry about losing that data because you followed Tip 7.) You can learn more about how to remote wipe your iPhone and remote wipe your Android device on their respective web pages.
- Use a security app
Keeping all of the above tips in mind will keep you well on your guard, and installing a robust security application will lead to complete protection. The security software works seamlessly in the background, making sure there are no unknown programs or offline files on your device. Avast has one of the largest security engines in the world, protecting a global network of hundreds of millions of users. Protect your data by installing Avast Mobile Security for iOS or Avast Mobile Security for Android .
There’s no reason you shouldn’t enjoy the fun and convenience of smartphones. Any new technology requires a new security lesson.