8 Tips to Secure your Mobile Device
As smartphones become more popular and are a mini computer in your pocket, its important to secure your data. A large portion of smart phone users store sensitive data on their device. You may do it too. You may not realize it, but you may be logged into social networks, have banking apps logged in, have your email logged in, and many other important applications on your phone. If this falls into the wrong hands you can get yourself into quite a mess. Below are 8 tips to secure your mobile device.
1. Set a PIN/Passcode/Password/Pattern – Setting a pin can stop unwanted users from accessing your phone. Setting some form of a passcode on your phone to access it is very important. This can stop not only friends and family from accessing your device, but can prevent unwanted and unknown individuals from accessing your device. A lot of newer phones are now requiring that you unlock the phone before you can restore it (reset it). So if an individual steals your phone and tries to wipe it clean, they can run into a real problem. Setting a PIN could give you enough time to track your phone down and call the authorities to retrieve it. A simple 4 number pin can save your phone.
2. Encrypt your data – Encrypting your data can make your device almost one hundred percent unusable if someone were to obtain it, or try and hack it. Encryption in short jumbles up all your data on the outside, and only gives one password to log in. If someone obtains the phone and does not have the password to boot past the encryption lock, they will have absolutely no chance at accessing ANY data on the phone. Android has a very simple and easy encryption option, and it will encrypt the whole phone extremely fast. You can find it under the Settings> Security > Encrypt Device. Sadly Apple does not offer full phone encryption at this time (December 18, 2013), so you will have to just use a PIN or password for the time being.
3. Stay Updated – Keep your device and applications always up to date with the latest firmware. Staying up to date is very important. Most companies issue updates due to security flaws in past firmwares that can pose a risk to you, or your device. Always stay up to date if possible.
4. Backup your phone regularly – Backups will keep you safe just in case your phone crashes or you loose it. Backups will help you keep your contacts, pictures, and important files stored in another location incase something happens to your mobile device. Backup all important data whenever possible.
5. Don’t click on random links from texts – Random links are usually spam filled with malicious intent. A new wave of malware has been going around with spam texts. It targets smart phone users with something like “Claim your gift card here [link]”. Don’t click the link as it will only hijack more data from your phone, and possibly infect it. (iDevices can get infected too, don’t think you are safe if you own an Apple product)
6. Don’t keep important logins on your phone – Never keep extremely important data on your mobile device. Many people are starting to keep bank apps, and other very sensitive data logged in on their phone. Not only is this dangerous, this is also extremely easy to steal. If someone is sniffing the network, or steals your phone, your important credentials could be stolen in a matter of seconds. Don’t keep banks, pins, or anything important on your phone. If you must, use Lastpass. It will encrypt all your passwords and hold them in their encrypted vault. None of your passwords will be stored on your phone locally, but you will have access to them 24/7, and will still be able to login to your bank and everything else securely, while on the go.
7. Clean your phone with an antivirus – Clean your mobile device with an antivirus such as Eset (then delete it). Many phones such as Android, and Windows allow antiviruses to be installed on the phone. Download Eset (here) on your mobile phone, run the cleaner, delete anything malicious, and then uninstall it. If you want to know why I recommend uninstalling it read my article “Do you really need an Antivirus” here! If you are prone to getting infected, then keep it on there, or scan once a month.
8. Use a VPN – Using a VPN will help keep all your internet traffic hidden and encrypted. A VPN will keep all your internet traffic hidden, and encrypted from outside intruders. If someone is sniffing the network looking for passwords, they won’t be able to sniff your traffic. Using a VPN on your mobile will route all your apps, updates, emails, and internet traffic through the VPN. It will not route texts, or phone calls through the VPN, but that’s expected.
If you take these 8 tips to secure your mobile device your phone should be safer than ever. This will not make your phone “hackproof” or anything of the sort, it will just help beef up the security on your end. These tips can stop unwanted authorization, physical stealing, and digital stealing. Use these tips, and secure your mobile device.