When it comes to protecting yourself from cyberattacks, you wouldn’t be wrong to initially think of practices to use on your laptop or desktop computer. As a matter of fact, not many people are aware of the dangers posed to the mini-computer they carry around every day—their cell phone.
Due to the frequency of use, protecting information on your cell phone can prove to be just as important (is not more so) than your computer at home or work. Take a moment to think about all of the things you use your cell phone for: communicating with family through calls, discussing matters for work through email, and even online banking through the use of apps. These, and many more, functions of a cell phone make them a necessity for many people, so you want to make sure you’re doing as much as you can to keep the information stored on your phone safe.
Here are some ways in which you can minimize the risk of your cell phone being breached:
- Utilize your passcode options.
The vast majority of cell phone users may already be using their phone’s passcode option for protection. However, more and more you can see the option to use letters, instead of just numbers, or have the ability to set a longer series of numbers as your passcode, instead of the common 4-digit code. Consider upping your passcode strength by adding in letters or more numbers; at the same time, stay away from using a set of numbers that can be easily guessed, such as your birthday, anniversary, or street number.
- Stick to the app store.
Apps serve many useful purposes – they make cell phones customizable, allow you to get more work done, and can make communication easier and more fun. When you are searching for a new app to use, be sure to avoid downloading from third-party sources. The apps in the Google Play Store or Apple Store have been inspected, and except for a few that may slip through, they are verified and harmless.
- Avoid jailbreaking.
“Jailbreaking” is a term used when cell phone users remove the set restrictions imposed by their phone’s system in order to make it more customizable, be able to pirate music, or have access to more third-party—don’t do this! Jailbreaking your phone leaves vulnerable to more viruses that could have been caught by the system’s built-in antivirus protections. Jailbreaking also violates any warranties that you may have taken out with your cell phone provider. All in all, it is a risky process that can end up doing more harm than good.
- Link only to Wi-Fi you trust.
When connected to wireless internet, your phone is just as susceptible to intruders as your computer. Avoid hooking onto open connections when you can’t be completely sure of who the host is, or who else has access to that source.
- Practice computer safety.
Just like you wouldn’t follow suspicious links in your email on your computer, you should practice the same caution on your phone. Popups, “Too Good to be True” ads, and unsolicited links should be avoided on your phone. Otherwise, you may unknowingly invite vicious malware onto your device, allowing it access to stored passwords, accounts, and other sensitive data.
- Log out.
Cell phone apps make on-the-go errands simple. You can check your grades from a recent test with university apps, or transfer money from your accounts with mobile banking. You can check up on your sales team through task managing apps, or check up on your friends through social sharing. No matter what the task is, however, it is necessary to keep the information you want private private. Logging out of certain apps when you’re finished with them, like banking or credit checkers, can keep personal information safe.
There are many simple ways in which you can protect the information you keep on your phone—some of the easiest usually take nothing more than configuring your phone’s built in settings. Hackers work hard to pull data from you no matter what device they use. That is why it is your job to protect yourself.