10 Essential Tips to Keep Your Smartphone Secure

Smartphone
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Think about having your entire life in a palm-sized gadget in your pocket. That is the modern state of our smartphones – they store not only cheerful photos and loving messages, but also important banking data and passwords. Given the volume of useful information available on these devices, they make for rather juicy targets for hackers.

To ensure that your valuable data does not fall into wrong hands, there is need to observe certain security measures.

Below are some guidelines that can help one to protect their smartphone against hackers.

1. Regularly Update Your Software

Another simple yet very efficient method of protecting your smartphone is to always update the software on it. Software companies often release updates that fix security issues in your software as well as enhance the performance of your device.

Failure to update the phone means that hackers can easily take advantage of the vulnerabilities that are found in the outdated software. You can set your device to update automatically or update it manually by going to the settings menu of your device.

2. Use Strong, Unique Passwords

It is therefore important to stress the need for the use of secure, and distinctive passwords. Do not use simple passwords as these can be easily cracked such as “123456” or “password”. Rather, it is recommended to include letters, numbers, and special characters into the password.

It is advisable to use a password generator as you would create complex passwords for all your accounts and store them in a password manager. This minimizes the chances of one password being cracked and all the other accounts associated with it being violated.

3. Utilize VPNs for Enhanced Security

VPNs are a great asset when it comes to improving the security of your smartphone. A VPN hides your internet connection to ensure that hackers cannot easily access your information. This is especially the case when connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, which are normally open and very popular among cybercriminals. A VPN such as Surfshark works by taking your internet connection and passing it through a secure server, thus protecting your privacy.

4. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-Factor Authentication (2FA) is a process that tends to make your accounts more secure. It is a password that needs a second factor of identification, for example, a code that is sent to your phone or a special application.

This means even in the event that the hacker got your password, he would also require the second factor to be granted access to your account. Implement 2FA in every account that it is possible and more so, where the account contains sensitive information.

5. Be Cautious with App Permissions

During app installation, users should be careful with permissions that the apps are asking for. Some applications may require permissions for accessing contacts, location, camera, or microphone even if they do not need it. It is always unadvisable to provide permissions that are not necessary since it can lead to mishandling of your information.

Always download applications from the official stores such as the Google Play Store or Apple App Store and always check the permissions before installing an app.

6. Install a Reliable Security App

Thus, a good security app should be able to offer full protection to your smartphone. Choose applications that provide such options as malware, real-time threat detection, and anti-theft features.

Some of the security apps also assist in cases where the phone is lost by giving directions to the place where the phone is or even erasing all the data on the phone in case it is with the wrong people. Always update your security app for it to be in a position to handle new threats that are being developed.

7. Avoid Phishing Scams

Phishing scams are one of the most frequently used techniques by the hackers to obtain personal data. Do not give information to strangers over the internet, phone or emails. Real business will never request for your password or your credit card information through email.

Never reply to the message or click on any link or download any attachments without confirming the authenticity of the message. In other words, if something looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it probably is a duck.

8. Secure Your Lock Screen

The lock screen on your smartphone is actually one of the first barriers of protection against any intrusion. Employ a highly secure form of lock screen that is a PIN, password or use of fingerprints or Face ID. Do not use obvious patterns or PINs such as “0000” or “1234.

Also, you should set the phone to lock after some few minutes of inactivity so that even if you do not lock it yourself, the phone will do it for you.

9. Backup Your Data Regularly

Regularly backing up your data ensures you won't lose important information in case your phone is hacked, lost, or damaged. Use cloud services or external storage devices to keep a copy of your data. 

This practice not only helps in recovering your information but also allows you to reset your phone without fear of losing essential data if a security breach occurs.

10. Be Mindful of Bluetooth and NFC

Those are some of the conveniences that are however have security risks if not well controlled such as Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC). One should always disable the Bluetooth and NFC where they are not needed to avoid anyone accessing your device.

These connections can be used by hackers to get into your phone and take data or put a virus on it. In the case of Bluetooth or NFC, be connected to devices and networks that are safe and secure.

Conclusion

As much as it is to use your smartphone, you need to be very careful and even more so be very proactive. Some of the measures you can take to minimize hacking include; updating your software frequently, using difficult to guess passwords, using a VPN, and two-factor authentication.

Here, some advise is as follows: be careful with app permissions, do not fall for phishing scams, and install reliable security apps to enhance the device security. Do not forget to make a copy of your data and check your accounts for suspicious activity. Adhering to the above tips will go along way in making sure that your smartphone stays on the right side of the law and a useful tool in your day to day activities.

 

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