Did you know that your smartphone could be at risk right this minute? Many smartphone users don’t fully realize the potential for having their smartphone hacked. While we might worry about getting a virus on our laptops, we rarely stop to consider the same risk for our phones. In fact, smartphones are even more vulnerable to these attacks since they travel to different locations and connect to various networks more often than most computers.
If you want to protect your smartphone from attacks by hackers, make sure you take these steps. Fortunately, securing your smartphone is easy with a few simple tips and tricks.
Watch Out for Wi-Fi Networks
If you’re using your smartphone to connect to public wi-fi networks, you’re putting your phone in jeopardy too often. Unsecured Wi-Fi networks are much more common than you might think. Each time you connect, a hacker could be just seconds away from accessing your personal information and any accounts linked to your phone.
There are three ways around this hacking risk:
- Use data instead: You can use your data plan to access the Internet rather than an unfamiliar Wi-Fi network. This gives you the security you need while still letting you access information whenever you want to. If you plan to use this approach, make sure you check with your provider about data limits or ask about their rates for an unlimited data plan.
- Use secure networks: If you do choose to use Wi-Fi, always make sure you are on a secured network. Every Wi-Fi network you access should be password-protected. In addition, you should only access a network offered by a provider you trust.
- Find the right app: Another good option is to download an app like Freedome, which protects your data by making it unreadable on any wireless network while also blocking hackers from tracking you as you search the Web.
Secure Your Accounts
Whether you use an Android phone, an iPhone or another type of smartphone, you’ll likely have at least a few major accounts linked to your device. For example, Android users typically sync their Google account with their devices in order to check their email, make purchases and download apps.
In order to protect these synced accounts, make sure there is an extra layer of security that keeps hackers away from your info. Check out your settings menu to look for an authentication requirement option. This will make sure you have to reenter a password or other secret information before making any purchases through an account. If you have passwords currently auto-saved, you may also want to unlink your password so that you must enter it manually every time. Take other steps like these to make sure that hackers can’t access your personal info or get into your accounts without the right authorizations.
Lock Your Screen
If you access your smartphone often, having an unlock screen may seem like a pain. However, this small extra step will protect your phone from hackers if it were to be stolen. Knowing that your lock screen is activated will give you the time you need to find the thief or deactivate your phone before they get to your personal information.
The standard option on most phones in a four-digit code that you punch in much like your ATM code (just don’t use your actual ATM code or one that’s easy to guess, like 1234). However, many of the newer smartphones offer a wide variety of lock screen options. You may be able to have the phone recognize your face or your fingerprint. In other cases, you can have a favorite photo as your lock screen and draw a unique pattern on it with your finger in order to unlock the phone. These options make the lock screen less of an annoyance while still keeping the hackers out.
Check App Permissions
Each time you install an app, you’re giving an outside party access to your phone. In most cases, they are not accessing any sensitive information, or if they are, they have standards in place to keep that information private. This is the case for most major apps from trusted parties.
Whether the app is familiar or not, you always need to read through the permissions it is requesting before you install it. If you’re unsure, check for reviews or more information online or simply find an alternative app you can download instead.
If you’re downloading apps for your iPhone, this step should be a problem as all the apps in the iTunes store have already been vetted. But if you use an Android phone or another type of smartphone, it’s essential to look over the app permissions before you download anything.
Use these simple tips to keep your smartphone safe every day. Protecting yourself from hackers helps reduce the risk of unauthorized purchases, identity theft and other threats to your finances.