Below, we have put together a list of some of the most effective techniques for boosting smartphone security and protecting your data.
1. Disable Automatic Wi-Fi Connections
Today’s phones make it possible to stay connected just about anywhere you go, which is one of their primary benefits. However, if your phone is set to constantly look for open wireless networks, it can wind up exposing your location and your identity. Connecting to access points that are unencrypted can expose key details that could be accessed by people with ill intent.
Keep any data leakage to a minimum by setting your phone to forget networks you don’t use anymore, and use a VPN. You can find Android VPNs on ProPrivacy. There are also smartphone apps available that allow you to control where you want to use wireless connections and where you don’t.
2. Use A Password For Extra Security
Even though it seems like common sense, a surprising number of people don’t password-protect their devices. Leaving your device unprotected is a bad idea. While swipe patterns offer some degree of protection, any leftover streaks on your screen from a greasy finger could give away the pattern.
Four-digit pins are a little bit better. For the most protection, however, come up with a passcode that would be hard for anyone to guess.
3. Enable Automatic Device Locking
Even if you password-protect your phone, it won’t matter if it takes too long for the protection to kick in. For instance, if your phone doesn’t lock itself for 15 minutes, someone could easily access your information before it locks if you leave it unattended.
To avoid this problem, choose the shortest amount of time available for locking your phone. Usually, a range of anywhere from about two minutes to five minutes is appropriate. Even though you will have to unlock your device more often, it is worth it for the extra protection that this feature provides.
4. Use Software To Protect Your Phone
At the most basic level, your smartphone is a small computer. That means that it is susceptible to the same risks as any computer, including malware and viruses. Installing a software program like Sophos Mobile Security can not only help reduce the risk of malware infections but it can also provide additional safety when installing apps. It even alerts you when you make risky changes to your device settings and can be used to remotely wipe your data if your phone is stolen.
Software like this is not only beneficial for individual users but can also be used by businesses to protect data on the mobile devices of employees.
5. Use Trusted Sources When Downloading Apps
The App Store and the Google Play Store prioritize security. The available apps are carefully screened, and any dangerous apps are usually removed right away.
Before you put a new app on your phone, carefully read through the reviews. This can help you identify any potential security problems so that you can avoid accidentally installing apps that pose a threat to your device or your data.
6. Inspect The Permissions Of Any Apps
There are a lot of valid reasons for apps to require extra permissions on your phone. For example, if you are installing a mapping app, it logically would need access to your location. Similarly, an SMS app would naturally need to be able to receive text messages.
Watch out for apps that are requesting permissions that they don’t require, though. For instance, if you are installing a stopwatch and it wants access to your contacts, it is a major red flag.
7. Always Check For OS Updates
When new updates for your operating system are published, they often are designed to patch security issues.
Automatic updates are a great option. Alternatively, you can also ask to be alerted when updates are available so that you can install them on your own. If you tend to forget things, however, going with the automatic option could keep you from overlooking an important update.
8. Don’t Trust External Links From Unknown Sources
If you get an email or text message with a link from someone that you don’t know, never click on it. These links are almost always related to phishing scams, where someone is trying to obtain your details or information.
Never reply, either. If the sender gets a response, they are more likely to continue sending messages.
9. Use Encryption
Encrypting your smartphone provides an extra layer of protection. Even if your device is password-protected, someone who is tech-savvy could still access your personal details by connecting your device to a computer. Encryption helps keep this from happening.
10. Disable NFC And Bluetooth If You Aren’t Using Them
Near field communication (NFC) and Bluetooth have a lot to offer when it comes to staying connected. They make it possible to use wireless devices like headsets or keyboards. They also make it quick and easy to pay for products at the store.
Unfortunately, they also make it easier for people to access your information. Try setting your device to “not discoverable” or turning off these features when you aren’t using them. Also, use caution when pairing devices. Only agree to requests from devices that you know and trust.