Keeping Your Smartphone Secure in a Dangerous World
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(Edited Jan 23, 2018)


Smartphones are one of the most expensive devices people carry around with them at all times. Each year, new models are released that are more expensive than the last, and as many people use their phones as a resource throughout the day, they become integral to day-to-day life. Therefore, people take steps to secure the private information on their phones and to not set them down unless they are in a safe location. Losing your phone or having it stolen is an enormous inconvenience, but there are other aspects of securing your smartphone that are important to consider.

Passwords

Keeping cell phones password protected has become a security step that most people don’t think twice about. Phones with a fingerprint scan option as a way to unlock your phone add a nice security touch because fingerprints are unique to each individual, and it decreases the chances of someone seeing and stealing your password when you’re entering it. Follow recommended password strength guidelines to choose a password that won’t be easily guessed. With a password-protected phone, the risk of not getting your phone back if it’s stolen is lower.

Apps like Find My Droid, Find My Phone, and Prey, an app that takes pictures of its surroundings when the phone is reported lost or stolen, have helped give smartphone owners a fighting chance at recovering their pricey devices once they’re stolen. Find My IPhone can track your Apple products with your Apple login and get the exact GPS location of your phone if it’s misplaced. You have the option of locking your phone from a computer if you suspect it has been stolen and sending a message to the phone for it to be returned by contacting a number of your choice. This makes them difficult to unlock by the average user and a lot easier to find as long as your phone has battery.

Secure Connections

It’s also important to be careful about the public internet connections you use. Open networks are often not secure and can be used by any party to potentially steal information by intercepting the data that is transferred across the link. When using free, public Wi-Fi connections, it’s a good idea to avoid signing into pages with sensitive information like bank accounts or entering any passwords in general.

It’s also a good practice to double check with the location providing the public Wi-Fi to make sure it is indeed their Wi-Fi and not a Wi-Fi trap by someone trying to steal data. A good way to make sure you don’t unintentionally connect to an unsafe network is by disabling the feature on your phone that automatically connects to open Wi-Fi networks. If possible, try to stick to using your cellular network connection that is encrypted and cannot be seen by cybercriminals.

Malware

Malware has now become a very real threat to smartphones as well as computers. Similar to the kinds of malware that have been known to lock businesses out of their servers until a ransom is paid, phone owners must also be careful to avoid risks that can leave them susceptible to these kinds of ransomware. Good rules for cell phone security involve only downloading apps from designated app stores and being wary of free downloads, as well as making sure not to click on or download any files you don’t recognize.

Make sure to update your phone as soon as possible after receiving a notification that an update is available. This updates the software used by your phone and makes it more difficult for people to get through your phone’s security. More than 80 percent of Apple products run the latest version of the iOS operating system, while less than 10 percent of Androids are running the most modern operating system.

Locked Away

When going to the pool or beach where you really can’t have your phone on you, it’s important to have storing options for where you’ll keep your phone until you’re done in the water. Cell phone lockers are a good option for keeping your phone safe from getting wet and from being stolen, especially if you’re at a beach as a tourist. Beaches, especially those in metropolitan areas, are known for being raided by locals because it’s difficult to keep an eye on your possessions when in the water.

Smartphones are valuable devices filled with personal information, and there’s a lot to lose in having them stolen. Passwords help deter potential thieves from getting into your phone and can create enough of an obstacle to give you time to report it as stolen, lock it and track it. Free Wi-Fi is awesome but be careful not to jump on just any connection you risk entering an unsafe network and having someone take your personal information or send you malware. Updating your phone regularly should help make sure your phone is operating with the most modern security protections to avoid malware. These practices should help ensure your smartphone and private information don’t end up in the wrong hands.

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