You’ve probably seen a few scary news headlines about data breaches and ID theft. Maybe you quickly added plenty of antivirus software to your desktop and laptop computers. But have you given much thought to how secure your smartphone is?
Cell phone security is more important than ever, as smartphone malware infections have jumped 96% from 2015 to 2016, according to the Nokia Threat Intelligence Report. 71% of phones have no security features to defend against this data-stealing software.
Today we’re sharing 7 tips to give you a jumpstart on cell phone security. Don’t wait another day to implement these simple tips!
1. Change Factory Defaults To Something Unique
No matter which kind of phone you buy, mobile hardware comes with a set of factory or default settings for things like passwords, personal identification numbers (PINs), and other information you’ll need to keep your cell phone security on point.
Be sure to change these factory defaults as soon as you can, choosing passwords and codes that are tough to guess, yet personal to you. Cell phone security best practices typically call for a mix of alphanumeric characters and symbols. Avoid passwords and PINs like “0000,” your birthdate, your children’s names, etc.
2. Stay On Top Of Updates
Set automatic updates when you can and stay up-to-date on the app store. To keep your cell phone security on point, make sure you’ve got the latest versions of your mobile device’s operating system, productivity apps, and cell phone security software like antivirus, anti-malware, and anti-phishing modules.
Enable the backup of your most-used files or documents to the much-safer cloud storage. Several mobile apps now include this option and also allow you to specify both the mode of data transfer and how frequently these backups happen. Whenever you need to, perform manual backups of your own using wireless data transfer (personal hotspot) or a USB linked to your laptop or desktop.
Just in case you ever fall victim to a device failure, malware infection, or data breach, these cell phone security safeguards will let you restore your mobile device to its former state.
3. Only Download Apps From Approved Sources
Downloading apps from the more official sources will always give you the best chance at keeping your cell phone security intact. These official channels include Google Play Store for Android and the App Store for iOS. While you’ll certainly still hear about apps riddled with malware, they’re still the most consistently reliable at vetting and reviewing the software they offer for download.
When it comes to third-party app stores or torrent websites, you’ll more often find yourself facing much-greater cell phone security risks. However, the official app providers do maintain a set of unofficially-approved third-party agents – stick to those when you must use a third-party channel.
4. Keep Your Guard Up When Using Public Wi-Fi
Free or low-cost public Wi-Fi is amazingly convenient, but don’t forget the go-to rules for maintaining your cell phone security. Never engage in financial transactions or any activity that calls for you to use personal or sensitive information. Sign out of everything when you’re finished. And if possible, use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) application or service.
5. Use Device Tracking
Your cell phone security system likely has a “find my phone” setting, and third-party apps are also available for device tracking. Using geotracking to monitor your phone’s location, you’ll have the option of sounding an alarm or remotely wiping your device’s data if it’s lost or stolen. Be sure this key feature is enabled!
6. Don’t Keep Essential Data Confined To Your Phone
Using cloud-based services and laptops, desktops, and tablets, it’s easier than ever to disperse your valued documents, photos, files, and other information across a range of devices. This way, if a single device has a security failure, you won’t lose everything.
7. Know How To Wipe Your Phone Remotely
If you’re an iPhone user and you have the “erase data” feature enabled, your iPhone will wipe everything from it after 10 unsuccessful passcode attempts. You can also use the “Find My iPhone” feature to remotely wipe your iPhone at any time. Got Family Sharing enabled? You can also remotely wipe the phone of any family member.
As an Android user, your “Find My Device” feature can remotely wipe all the personal information on your phone.
Cell phone security is always changing, but with these tried-and-true cell phone security precautions we’ve shared today, you’re much more likely to successfully keep your private data out of the hands of hackers.
*Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. Citywide Home Loans does not provide any other service apart from lending. You should always consult with your legal, tax and financial advisors to determine which strategy is the most suitable for your specific circumstances.