Cell phones have become integral to daily life based on their diverse functions and data storage facilities. A smartphone can help you click photos, set reminders, schedule appointments, take notes, or communicate with your peers. There are endless possibilities of what your smartphone is capable of. However, with such ease, it is also vulnerable to privacy and data breaches. So, it is natural to wonder how you can protect yourself from threats and what you can do to save the data stored on your smartphone. Fortunately, we’ve got you covered.
Here are the eight tips that can help improve your smartphone’s security.
- Set a strong password
For starters, the basic and best way to ensure smartphone security is to set a strong password. Neglecting smartphone security can cost you your data and privacy. A pattern lock can also be a good alternative, but it is not as effective as a strong password in some cases. For example, greasy fingers can leave a trail on the screen, allowing other people to unlock your phone and access your data.
Ensure to lock your smartphone immediately when the screen is inactive. You can choose a time frame for the lock screen and adjust it according to your convenience. In addition, you should change your password often to keep potential threats at bay.
- Download apps from trusted sources
Every user requires external apps on their smartphone. Even though renowned app stores like Apple’s App Store or Google’s Play Store prioritize mobile device security over everything else, it’s always best to check the ratings and reviews posted by previous users. User feedback can help identify security concerns or unnecessary app permissions that may be a threat.
Avoid downloading third-party apps from websites. Whenever a website shows a prompt to download an app, avoid clicking on it, even if you’re trying to close the window. These apps can be a potential source of cyber threats and malicious attacks. Instead, always visit the developer’s official website to download legitimate software. This way, you can avoid data breaches through unchecked app permissions.
- Enable Google Play Protect (For Android Users)
Google Play Protect is a built-in and reliable security system for Android users. It is a monitoring system that scans your smartphone for potential threats. In case of a suspicious or dysfunctional app, it immediately notifies the user.
Google Play Protect is enabled on every Android phone by default. However, if it’s not activated, you can enable it by accessing the security controls on your smartphone. For example, tap “App security” or “Google Play Protect” and click on the gear icon in the upper-right corner. You don’t have to rely on third-party apps for app security and monitoring if you have Google Play Protect enabled on your smartphone.
- Turn on Bluetooth and NFC only when in use
Every smartphone has Bluetooth, and NFC (near-field communication) features for excellent connectivity and file sharing. With these features, you can easily use accessories like headsets and wireless keyboards. But in this case, comfort comes at the cost of privacy if not used carefully. It can allow cyber attackers to access your data and sensitive information. Therefore, you must avoid turning on your Bluetooth and NFC when not in use. Always choose the “not discoverable” mode to prevent pairing with unwanted devices. Be careful and only connect with devices you know and trust to avoid threats.
- Customize your lock screen features
A lock screen on your smartphone acts as a security check for unauthorized users. It allows access to only information that you want it to display. You must know that depending on your notification settings; your lock screen can reveal information regarding your communications, such as emails, texts, and calls. If you want to improve your privacy, don’t allow the content of the messages on the lock screen. Only allow limited access to features visible on your screen, as anyone can read your notifications without unlocking your phone.
You can also create a customized message for your lock screen in case you lose the device. Simply write a message asking for the device to be returned and share your contact information to be displayed on the lock screen. This way, anyone that finds your phone can quickly contact you and return it.
- Encrypt your phone
If you think a strong password alone can secure your phone, think again. Your smartphone can still face the potential threats of data stealing and loss of sensitive information over insecure networks. So how can you prevent data sharing through these methods? First, allow encryption on your device to secure your data and information. Both Android and iOS allow users to encrypt their data on the phone.
Moreover, virtual private networks (VPNs) encrypt incoming and outgoing data over the accessed network. With VPNs, no one can snoop into the system and intercept your smartphone data. Instead, you can choose to encrypt your data through a third-party VPN service. Then, you only need to activate the VPN to surf safely.
- Enable Two Factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication is a reliable measure that you can consider to level up your smartphone security. It allows users to access their accounts after presenting two pieces of evidence to an authentication medium. First, the user enters the password into an account; then, as a second layer of protection, the user will be asked to provide a secondary piece of information to authenticate access. This information can be a code, voice, question, etc. This measure restricts unauthorized access as it is difficult for hackers to gain access to the authentication second factor even if they manage to get past the first.
With the advancement of technology, it is crucial to use smartphones while remaining aware of potential threats and dangers. You can only protect your data and sensitive information from security breaches if you know how to practice the safe use of digital devices. Make sure to enable in-built security features and browse.