How you should be protecting your smartphone, advice from cyber security experts.
Smartphones have become such a standard part of our lives that it can be easy to forget that they are actually super powerful computers — and that they contain a lot of personal information. Think about it: If you’re like most adults, you probably have your banking information, your home address, a bunch of your health information, and maybe even some personal photos. Smartphones serve almost as extensions of our brains, allowing us to store information, communicate, and better navigate the world around us.
So can you imagine what would happen if the wrong person got into your phone? The thought alone is terrifying.
Luckily, there are things you can do to protect your smartphone and the personal information it contains. Follow these eight tips and the only thing you’ll have to worry about is accidentally dropping it in the toilet. (Sorry, can’t help you there.)
Make sure your phone is password-protected
Yeah, yeah, I know it takes an extra couple of seconds to type in your PIN or press down your finger or swipe out a pattern. But without that password, all of the data in your phone is available to anyone who picks it up. So, trust us — those extra few seconds are worth it.
Auto-lock is your new best friend
Sometimes people take the auto-lock off their phones because… honestly, I’m not sure. But if you want your data to stay safe, make sure that it’s set to auto-lock after 30 seconds. This ensures that a momentary lapse into forgetfulness won’t lead to your phone being exposed to anyone who picks it up.
Be aware of where your apps are coming from
Just like you wouldn’t download any random thing onto your computer, it’s important to be careful about downloading apps only from trusted sources. Unchecked downloads are a great way for cybercriminals and thieves to gain entry to your phone.
Get antivirus software
If you have an Android phone, protect it with antivirus software the same way you’d protect your computer.
Keep your phone updated
Updates aren’t put out just for fun. While they can be kind of annoying, updates are incredibly important for keeping your phone secure because they often contain responses to recently discovered security breaches. They also make sure your system is running the way it should be.
Turn Bluetooth off if you’re not using it
You might use Bluetooth to connect to your speakers or Chromecast or whatever Bluetooth-enabled device you’re into — and that’s great! Just be sure to turn off the Bluetooth connection when you’re not using it. Think of it as an open pathway for hackers to access your phone. Oh, and don’t ever confirm a request to pair with a device that you don’t recognize.
Not using the wi-fi? Turn it off too
Same goes for wi-fi, especially open networks. If you’re connecting via public wi-fi, anyone on that network can access all of the data you’re sending. Yup, that means your passwords, your banking info, your messages — anything you send while you’re connected. So if you’re not using the internet, disconnect. And if you are? Use a private browser with built-in VPN like Avast Secure Browser.
Have you noticed a pattern here? Avast Secure Browser is an excellent solution for protecting your phone from intrusion. (At least of the digital kind. You still do need to make sure everything is password protected.)