Modern connectivity is great, but you need to make sure your information stays safe.
Smartphones have evolved at a rapid rate over the last two decades. Where once they were just handy tools for calling friends and playing simple games, now they allow us to manage our finances, communicate instantly, stream services and browse any webpage on the net.
We rely so much on our smartphones to make our lives as convenient as possible we often forget about one of the most important aspects — keeping our data safe. Think about it: how much of your sensitive data can be found on your smartphone? For most of us, the answer is a lot. Between banking apps, chat logs, calendars, notes and pictures, our whole lives are present on the rectangle we keep in our pocket.
The lock screen is the first line of defense from data theft, so use it wisely. The simplest step that you must take is to set a lock screen password. Try to think of something which you will remember, but which isn’t obvious to people trying to break into your smartphone (far too many of us simply use our date of birth).
On some smartphones, it’s also possible to switch on an Erase Data feature. Go to Settings, General, Passcode Lock and Erase Data. This will wipe all data from your phone after several incorrect password attempts. You can get the same feature from certain apps too.
There are a lot of settings and features on your phone which are on constantly, even when you’re not using them. Things like Location Services, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Cellular Data not only drain your smartphone battery but also leave you open to hackers and cyber criminals. Try to get into the habit of switching off these settings when you aren’t using them.
Make sure to check out apps thoroughly before you commit to downloading them, especially when downloading apps for important things like storing work files or managing your bank accounts. Read through all the details on the App Store to make sure the app comes from the original company and correct developer. Some dodgy developers will promise ‘new’, ‘HD’ or ‘improved’ versions of official apps which are designed for taking details. Check out app ratings and reviews to see how legitimate an app is, as an app with no reviews which claims to be from a major company probably isn’t telling the truth.
It’s all too easy to click on the wrong link when browsing the web on your smartphone, and the consequences can be severe. Viruses and malware are often spread through fishy download links and websites, so if you’re not 100% sure of a link’s legitimacy, it’s best to avoid it. This also goes for links you receive via SMS or email, even if they claim to be from trusted companies. Remember, a bank will never ask for your bank details unless it’s over the phone or in person and for a clear reason.
Lastly, keep tabs of your phone at all times as losing it leaves it open to hackers. Of course, this is easier said than done, and many of us are guilty of leaving our phones in a bar or on public transport. So make sure your phone is secure enough that losing it doesn’t mean handing over your data. Installing apps that locate your smartphone are a good way to add a new layer of security, and some even have an option that lets you wipe your data if you think you’ve been hacked.
For answers to your tech queries, consider the help of a trusted IT support company.