How safe is your smartphone from the prying eyes of cybercriminals, hackers, and corporate entities? Smartphones are indispensable to our lives, but, unfortunately, we take them for granted. We trust them with our passwords, credit card data, and other sensitive information. Yet, we overlook the importance of hack-proofing our phones. The result: your device becomes an inviting playground for cyber hackers. Before you know it, you could risk losing everything you own. Hence, effective prevention is better than having to deal with devastating data or financial losses.
Make smartphones immune to data breaches
Smartphone vulnerabilities are on the rise, and unprotected devices have become a regular soft target for cyber-criminals. Cybersecurity trends reveal startling facts and figures pertaining to data breaches on smartphones. To prevent your data from being publicly exposed or sold on the dark web, check out the following tips for hack-proofing your smartphone. To give you some background information, let’s review the past incidents that devastated smartphone owners and their manufacturers.
Statistics indicate that thousands of people still do not use any lock on their screens to prevent unauthorized access. This problem is not the only one. While app stores attempt to complete verification of app security, it is not always possible. When users tend to download free apps without thinking, they end up noticing some bizarre activities on their phones. In some cases, new apps appear without authorization. A more devastating scenario is that a fake app works as a backdoor for more malicious threats to slither in. So, when browsing through the app stores, you need to pay attention to the app’s providers. Another great recommendation is to avoid any unknown third-party apps.
Of course, you cannot protect yourself from everything. In some cases, the responsibility is on the app developers’ shoulders. For instance, researchers from Positive Technologies had revealed that the majority of mobile banking applications contain evident vulnerabilities. If exploited, they could cause tremendous losses. Sadly, none of the tested apps displayed satisfying levels of security. Client-sides took the lead, having more flaws to potentially facilitated unauthorized access. Naturally, providers of such applications cannot be protected from all sophisticated strategies that emerge. Hence, when they take the time to provide solutions to flaws, you need to appreciate it. How? By installing patches whenever they are offered.
Install decent software for security
Yes, this seems obvious, but how many of you do it? Most smartphone owners overlook this protection measure unless it is too late. Now, this does not mean you download the first security application you see on an app store. Browse through some credible security app recommendations from reliable sources. Check honest user reviews before you download an app fit for your device. A good app gives you:
- Malware prevention and detection
- Outstanding privacy features
- Anti-theft features
Update firmware and software Regularly
Outdated software is the safest haven for cybercriminals. Stay alert and keep track of software updates. Install them whenever available and do not ignore the notifications, urging you to do it. They contain fixes to security threats and patches to vulnerabilities that your smartphone has. The same applies to operating systems as well. The updates you install must come from an official source. Do not use unofficial third-party tools to root your Android smartphone or jailbreak any iOS device. Hackers are smart these days and can break into technical safeguards in smartphones that have been jailbroken or rooted.
Rely on a good VPN
A Virtual Private Network (VPN) allows you to encrypt all your traffic on the Internet. It protects your confidential data from hackers around-the-clock. Banking through a credible VPN is especially important when you connect to public Wi-Fi networks at coffee shops, airports, hospitals, or schools. Your smartphone is subjected to innumerable threats at these public spots as cyber-attacks are common here. You should be safe than sorry. The good news is that a quality Atlas VPN on Android is easy to download and promptly install on your smartphone. After that, you will be able to quickly connect to the chosen server. It will replace your IP addresses and allow you to browse anonymously. Another important perk is that by changing your IP address, you will get access to geo-restricted content. To meet the imposed criteria, you might need to select a server with a specific location.
Beef up your password
Do you have a strong password for your smartphone? Make sure you create a strong one before it gets lost or stolen. Use an alphanumeric combination but ensure you avoid a password that is simple to crack by hackers. Never use your birthday as a smartphone password. The ideal password should be a complex mix of characters that do not reflect any logical patterns. For better security, you can always rely on two-factor authentication (2FA).
So, you get the benefits of multiple factors and several digital layers of protection. They include face recognition, fingerprint, PIN, and password. In short, the 2FA makes your smartphone inaccessible to a large extent. Other ways to keep cyber hackers at bay are to switch off your Bluetooth, lock individual apps, say no to third-party apps, change your password often, use different passwords, and avoid the auto-login feature.
Analyze all your app permissions
Smartphone hackers infuse apps with harmful malware to trigger ransomware or other attacks. Make sure you analyze all your app permissions carefully. Also, take time and effort to read app reviews online. Say no to apps with permission requests that feel necessary. For example, a simple smartphone app does not need the privilege to access your camera or microphone. There are several instances where even a legitimate app can be deployed for nefarious activities like spying through your smartphone. You have the choice to pull back these app permissions. Check the settings or privacy tools of your smartphone. Go to App Permissions and make the changes for protection.
Stay alert of all background activities
You generally are not aware of what is taking place in the background when you install an app, browse or download files from the Internet. To stay safe, you need to use a credible tool that detects mobile intrusion and instantly issues an alert. There are several apps available for smartphone users that monitor online accounts and scan indicators of unauthorized access. They monitor your routine on a daily basis and issue notifications when suspicious activity is detected on your account.
Last but not least: if you have plans to resell or donate your current smartphone, wipe the phone clean. Sign out of all accounts, remove pictures, Wi-Fi connections, messages, apps, and everything that you have done. This deletion will safeguard all your sensitive data from falling into the wrong hands and keep you safe in the future. Overall, smartphones are here to stay. Thanks to its portable nature, we take them everywhere. It becomes essential when traveling as well. Imagine you are lost in a foreign country. You have no idea how to get back to your hotel, and you do not know the local language. What do you do? You open your smartphone and follow the GPS directions. Hence, your smartphone is your loyal companion, around-the-clock. In return, ensure that it is properly secured and won’t be susceptible to the most common digital threats.