After the recent incident with the FBI unlocking an Apple phone without permission, everybody is speaking about cell phone security. And whether you agree with the FBI’s actions or not, they are the least of your worries when it comes to the security of your mobile device.
These days there are many thieves who are more interested in your info than your tangible property, so keep yours out of the clutches of curious people by following these useful tips:
Keep your phone out of the clutches of criminals – literally
Don’t let your phone sprout feet. When your phone gets stolen criminals can have a field day rifling through all your most precious information – such as your embarrassing selfies, login details and even your house address. Save yourself the inconvenience of changing all your passwords and your door locks by keeping a close eye on your phone.
You can keep your phone from becoming the latest prize of an opportunist by sticking to the following steps:
- Look aware – or even better, be aware!
- Keep the volume down on your earphones so you can hear others approaching
- Keep your phone out of sight when you can
- Close your handbag zip after taking something out
- Buy it a cover, so its standout traits are less obvious if you’re sporting the latest model
- Listen to your gut – it’s always better to be safe than sorry
If your phone does get stolen:
- Inform your service provider immediately – blacklisting your phone can stop criminals from making calls, which helps deter thieves from stealing
- Report it to the police – they might not find your phone, but if they know where these crimes happen, they can be more vigilant (and they can give you a case number to use if you have insurance)
Keep your phone locked
It’s easy to give your phone a pin, in fact some phones are now being released with a fingerprint scanner, so there are no excuses for not having your phone locked.
This step gives you an extra layer of protection when somebody does get their hands on your phone, and remember your phone does not have to be stolen for somebody to get information from it! Keeping your phone locked will keep it safe from all prying eyes.
Keep away from open Wi-Fi networks
Very few people are willing to give away data for free – without getting something in return.
In a coffee shop you get Wi-Fi for your patronage – so that’s all right. The same holds true for Wi-Fi at an airport – to which free access is usually limited. So while these Wi-Fi spots are relatively safe, it still isn’t the best place to do your banking or check your investments.
All other open Wi-Fi networks should be avoided, especially since they are often specifically there to lure you into sharing your information.
Keep tabs on your phone when it goes on an adventure
Of course even the most vigilant of us have fallen prey to crime in the past, and sometimes all of your precautions are simply not good enough. There is a new scam everyday, so if you do fall prey to somebody with sticky fingers don’t be too hard on yourself.
Here’s how you can locate your phone should you misplace it, or if it gets stolen:
Go to the Google Settings app and select Security. Ensure that there is a tick next to the “Remotely locate this device” and “Allow remote lock and erase” options. When those settings are activated you can use a map on your computer to find and erase your phone should it be necessary.
The locator feature should be activated by default on your iOS devices, so you can lock and remotely wipe your phone. But you can log into the “Find My iPhone” app with your iCloud account to double check all the settings.
Keep your operating system, antivirus software and other apps updates
When you ensure that everything is up to date on your phone it helps keep it secure, since malware is designed to attack software weaknesses on your phone. For the same reason it is a good idea to keep all your apps updated. Set your phone to update automatically when you reach Wi-Fi – that way there will be fewer loopholes for hackers to exploit.
As for security apps, here is the low-down:
There are a few antivirus apps you can use on your Android phone, such as 360 Security, Avast and AVG. A quick Google search should reveal plenty more, and you can pick one that meets your specific requirements.
These apps look for malware and help you remove it when these malicious bits of software try to attack your phone. Some of these apps also help you locate your phone when it goes missing.
Apple releases patches as issues crop up. These patches keep your phone as secure as possible when loopholes are discovered through which malware might get to your information. For this reason it is good to keep your operating system updated.