Most people go the extra mile with their desktop or laptop computers to keep them safe, often installing antivirus software, using a firewall, and reinforcing their cybersecurity methods. Most of us also probably use our smartphones for a bunch of daily tasks. Internet browsing, interacting on social networks, banking, watching videos, chatting with friends, and much more. But how many of us can say we extend the same level of security or threat awareness to our phones as we do our computers? Probably not too many. But the truth is that your smartphone is at risk. With breaches occurring more often lately, it’s time to think about your own protective measures. There are some critical points you can secure on your phone by taking a pragmatic approach and using security tools. We’ve outlined five options that can boost security with very little effort. Check it out below.
Use The Built-in Security Features
The initial step on your journey to a more secure phone should come with forking at the built-in security features on your device. Both Apple and Android phones have these security features already implemented into them. For an iPhone, you can secure your device by setting a passcode, using Face or Touch ID, and password protecting the phone. Your iPhone can create a strong password for you and you can use the “Sign in with Apple” feature if you wish. For Android, you can do knock codes, pins, passwords, patterns, and (on some devices) facial recognition. Some phones also offer biometric or fingerprint IDs that you can use as a security feature. Use a strong password instead of a simple four-digit code or a one-word password that someone can guess. Remember the standard for a strong password is twelve or more characters, mixing upper and lowercase letters, and adding some numbers and/or symbols to the mix. You should also turn off lock screen notifications so anyone looking over your shoulder can’t see any of your messages and potentially sensitive data at any time. Always remember to watch out for suspicious apps and monitor your app permissions. Luckily, most iPhone apps are generally fine. The Apple Store is fairly secure but some dangerous things can still slip through from time to time, so remain diligent and pay attention to what’s on your phone to avoid any malware slipping through the cracks.
Protect Your Sensitive Information
The most crucial thing you can do for your own cybersecurity is to protect your sensitive information. When you are the target of a cyber-attack or scam, the hackers are interested in sensitive personal data. This includes:
- Your name
- Date of birth
- Street address
- ZIP Code
- Telephone number
- Email address
- Contact lists
- Any other relevant contact info
- Social security number
- Payment information (credit cards and bank accounts)
Given the value of this data, safeguarding it would be a top priority. The easiest way to do this is to use a lock screen and password for anything you’re doing on your phone. Don’t let others see the content of your text messages, especially if you are doing any kind of banking or inputting personal/sensitive data. Avoid posting or uploading sensitive data to the web and cloud. Oh, and never use a public unsecured Wi-Fi connection. A commonsense approach in this regard should protect your information just fine.
Use A Mobile Security Solution
One of the better ways to secure your phone and personal information is to utilize a comprehensive security solution. Most regular computer users likely have something similar installed on their systems in the form of antivirus or malware protection. Since everyone uses their phones for many of the same tasks like banking and shopping(where an extra layer of security matters), extending the same protection to a mobile device seems like common sense. It’s a good time to start thinking about getting a powerful antivirus for your phone. This type of service can easily block dangerous websites and protect your privacy on social media (including Facebook, Snapchat, Tik Tok, Youtube, Twitter, and LinkedIn). There are also features to protect kids online, manage and encrypt passwords, and guard against identity theft. And if you need to increase your phone’s speed, optimize it, or clean it up, the software can handle that for you, too. A mobile security suite is a great idea for anyone who uses their phone for important tasks and those seeking to maintain an extra layer of security while online.
Use Two Factor Authentication
Two-factor or multi-factor authentication is another good way to keep your phone secure and protect your Apple ID/iCloud account—even if it does seem like a pain sometimes. An increase in cybercrime necessitates the use of an extra security layer. 2FA is that extra line of defense. When used in conjunction with a password or pin, it helps keep your data safe. Once you choose to enable the option for your account, you’ll put in your password and log in as normal. Then you’ll use either a text message, phone call, or authenticator app to receive a code. Input the code into your 2FA prompt and you’re done. That’s it; it’s as simple as taking a few seconds to use an extra step. It prevents your account from being unlocked without you explicitly unlocking it yourself. Use it with other security measures like a password manager and antivirus to get the most out of this feature.
Enable Device Tracking
Device tracking is often the last beacon of hope for tracking down your phone in the event of it being lost or stolen. Theft or loss of a phone can expose your sensitive data to just about anyone. The simplest, most effective countermeasure here is to enable device tracking. If you lose the phone, you can track it quickly and find it fast. Device tracking is available in your iPhone’s built-in security settings, so be sure to enable it as soon as you set up your phone and check on it periodically. That way, you can ensure it’s enabled, just in case you need it someday. No one wants to lose their data or have to undertake the costly replacement of a phone, so this one insignificant step can save you a significant headache down the line.