Not only can mobile devices keep you connected to the world, but they also store a wealth of personal information. That’s why it’s important to take steps to protect your smartphone’s security. In this article, we’ll discuss 15 smartphone security tips to help you do just that.
Why it’s ‘Smart’ to Use Smartphone Security Features
Cybercriminals are always looking for new ways to target smartphones, and as operating systems become more complex, it becomes easier for them to find vulnerabilities to exploit. That’s why it’s so important to have a secure smartphone.
3 Ways Smartphones are Likely to be Breached
With so much of our personal and financial information stored on our phones, it’s important to be aware of the risks. Here are three ways your mobile phone and mine are likely to be breached:
- Operating system vulnerabilities: Whether it’s an out-of-date version of the iOS or Android open source operating system or a malicious app that slipped through the cracks, OS vulnerabilities can leave your phone open to attack.
- Banking information: If your phone is hacked, your banking info could be exposed. This could lead to fraud or identity theft, and it could also drain your bank account.
- Wrong hands: Even if your phone is protected by a password or fingerprint sensor, there’s always the risk that it could fall into the wrong hands. If you lose your phone or have it stolen, a thief could access all of your personal data.
15 Tips for Keeping Your Smartphone Secure
Your smartphone is one of the most personal devices you own that contains a lot of private data. It’s important to make sure your Apple iPhone, Android device, or other smartphone is as secure as possible. Here are tips to help give you the most secure phone possible:
1. Lock your phone with a PIN, pattern or password
One way to have a secure phone is to lock it with a PIN, pattern, or password. That way, if it ever falls into the wrong hands, security features like this will keep your phone protected and the person won’t be able to access your data or apps.
2. Create Strong Passwords
Always create strong and unique passwords for personal use. Avoid using easily guessed words or phrases, like your name or birthdate. Also, don’t use the same password for all of your accounts. If one account is compromised, all of your other accounts are at risk as well.
3. Keep Your Operating System and Apps Up to Date
Make sure you have the latest version of your operating system and apps. Hackers are constantly looking for vulnerabilities to exploit, so companies push out security updates to help keep your phone more secure.
4. Install Antivirus Software
Another way to have a secure smartphone is to install reputable antivirus software. This will help protect your phone from malware and other threats.
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5. Set up Remote Wipe in Case your Phone is Lost or Stolen
If your phone is ever lost or stolen, you can remotely erase all of the data on your own device to prevent someone from accessing your personal info. Most smartphones have this feature built-in and some phones have hardware-based kill switches.
6. Don’t Store Sensitive Data on Your Phone
You shouldn’t store data that are sensitive on your phone, like your social security number or credit card information. If your phone is ever lost or stolen, this information could fall into the wrong hands.
7. Avoid Clicking on Links or downloading Files from Unknown Sources
If you receive a text message from an unknown number with a link, don’t click on it. It could be a phishing attempt to get your personal information.
8. Hide iPhone and Android Phone Messages
For iPhones or Android devices, you can choose to hide message previews from the lock screen so that no one can see them unless they unlock your phone.
9. Be Careful with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth Connections
Public WI-FI networks have security issues, so avoid doing things like online banking or shopping on these networks. And avoid pairing your phone with unknown Bluetooth devices, as they could be used to hack into your phone.
10. Use Authentication Technology
There are many authentication options available to help keep your phone secure, like two-factor authentication or biometric authentication. They add an extra layer of security to your device.
11. Download Apps Only from Trusted Places
Only download your phone apps from trusted places, like the Apple App Store for iPhones or Google Play Store for Android phones. Unknown websites offering third-party apps could be malicious to your mobile device.
12. Make Sure Apps Don’t Access Permission Settings
When installing an app, check what permission settings it’s asking for. If an app doesn’t need certain permissions, like location services, then don’t give it access.
13. Use Your Smartphone’s Privacy and Security Settings
Most smartphones have built-in privacy and security settings that you can customize to your liking. You can choose to have a lock code, fingerprint sensor, or face ID technology to unlock your phone.
14. Audit Your Smartphone’s Privacy and App Permissions
You should regularly audit your smartphone’s privacy and permissions to make sure that nothing has changed without your knowledge. This will help you spot any potential security risks.
15. Protect Against SIM Swapping
SIM swapping attacks are a type of identity theft where someone gains access to your phone by using your SIM card. You can protect yourself from this by setting up a PIN code for your SIM card or using a service like Google’s Project Fi which has built-in features for security.
What are the Top Secure Smartphones?
With so many smartphone options out there, how do you know which are the most secure phones? We’ve done the legwork for you with this list of five of the most secure smartphones on the market:
- iPhone 13 Pro Max. The iPhone 13 Pro Max utilizes Apple’s iCloud Private Relay for online security, which allows users to browse the internet without being tracked by sites. There were also rules that were implemented in iOS 14 limiting the collection of user data by app makers.
- Google Pixel 6. With its Pixel 6 equipped with the Android OS and the Google Tensor system on a chip (SoC), Google takes a multilayered approach to security. The Pixel 6 uses TrustZone technology, which allows it to store important data in a highly secure area of the smartphone
- Purism Librem 5. This phone has three hardware kill switches. One disables the camera and mic, the second switches off power from any wireless adapters, and the third stops all network connectivity which includes GPS.
- Sirin Labs Finney. In addition to its layered cyber security suite, this blockchain smartphone is equipped with a 24/7 intrusion prevention system and a cryptocurrency wallet hidden behind a retractable display at the back of the phone.
- Bittium Tough Mobile 2C. Here’s a secure smartphone that comes with two operating systems to ensure data separation. Other security features include a YubiKey 5 NFC security key to support 2FA, and an always-on VPN.
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