Are you worried that your phone data would fall into the wrong hands and even at the hand of government agencies? As consumers we have every right to be worried about who see our personal data. The situation has become more worrisome after the FBI last year pressured Apple to help the agency unlock its iPhone used by one gunman in a shootout. While the situation maybe genuine for government agencies to want to look into personal phone data, you should remember that there are bigger security issues which you should give it a top priority.
Here are seven crucial measures you should must implement with your mobile phone to make sure you and your data is safe not just from thieves, malware and other popular hazards.
1. Don’t let thieves steal your phone
It is common for many people to use their phones in public places. While we cannot afford to stop using it, make sure you don’t bury you nose in your smartphone while walking on the street. Crowded places, tourist spots and markets are the common places where criminals strike. So, if you are not using your phone, keep it in your front pocket or into your bag. Recent data released in 2014 said that as many as 2.1 million mobile phones were stolen in that year alone. Imagine if one of these are yours…criminals would have learnt about your address, work place, bank, credit card info, saved passwords and many more. Always be on alert if you are out in public places.
2. Leaving your phone unlock
Never leave your phone without a screen lock. You never know what will happen next. This strategy is the simplest way of preventing thieves from getting their hands on your personal info. It is not fool proof, your memory card can still give away a lot of info, but it is a start. So, make sure you set up your screen lock. On Android phones you have the option to use a PIN, swipe lock or fingerprint lock. And with iPhones, use the PIN and in the later versions, you can also use Touch ID for fingerprint lock. Make sure your password is tough to crack.
3. Not setting up ‘Track My Location’ option
Do you know that you can always track your smartphone? If it is lost or stolen, you can track the location and then remotely delete all the data. I feel this is a must-do for every phone users. You too can do it…it is very simple.
If you are using Android phone, go to Google Settings app (different from regular phone Settings app) and then tap on Security. You will find Android Device Manager, and under that there is this option. Ensure both “Remotely locate this device” and “Allow remote lock and erase” options are turned on. With those settings implemented. You can always track track your mobile phone using a Google Map on your computer desktop or laptop and erase your phone data in case it is stolen or lost.
if you are using iPhone and iOS-powered devices, Apple has an inbuilt feature calls ‘Find My iPhone’. This security feature is turned on by default setting and it lets you locate your iOS device easily on map, lock it and then remotely wipe the data. You will have to login into an app called ‘Find iPhone’ via your iCloud account to make sure it is set up correctly.
4. Not using Anti-virus for Protection
Anti-virus is a must for Android phones. Even for those using iPhones, you can still get a malware. Some of the best mobile anti-virus apps are Lookout, Avast and TrustGo. They can scan your smart phone and flush out dangerous scripts. Though, there are no anti-virus apps for iPhones, Apple is now offering security patches as and when the company finds vulnerabilities in its iOS.
5. Using Free Wi-Fi from anywhere
For once and for all, remember this: A free Wi-Fi is unsecured no matter what security is put in place. So, while using the free service, your activities are all visible to the service providers. So, be careful. There may also be some Wi-Fi that are freely available just to make sure you use it and then the hackers jumped into your device to steal your data and information.
You may be asking this: Are the free Wi-Fi services at airports and cafeterias safe? The answer is: Somewhat safe. However, never access your bank or other financial websites where you have confidential information. An open free wi-fi service is open to hackers, so use them at your own risk.
6. Clicking links from spam messages
Phishing is one of the most common strategies used by cyber criminals to let you reveal your personal data and then inject your mobile phone with malicious malware. So, if you ever received some random messages with a link from people you don’t know, the thumb rule is: never click it. It will possibly be hackers trying to get your personal information like email, password, address, etc or worse inject your device with malware that could control your phone.
7. Not updating your phone with the latest operating system
Updating your phone to the latest firmware provided by the company is a simple method to be safe. Download your operating system updates only when when they are available either in Google Play or sent to your device upgrade settings by the company. Also ensure that all your apps are updated to the latest. It is common practice for hackers to exploit outdated apps.