10 Easy Ways You Can Expose Your Phone to Security Risks
We use our smartphones in our daily lives. We dump all our personal info into it, and use it to perform lots of tasks every single day. From online shopping to banking our phones are used for handling very sensitive information. Yet despite this, phone security risks many people forget to take measures to protect their security.
If someone finds your phone or hacks into it, they can have access to all your personal data. You read about hacking scandals all the time now but don’t think this only happens to celebrities. Thankfully there are things you can do even if your phone has been hacked.
Don’t wait for this to happen to you – be proactive and step up your security now. So here’s a list of common mistakes people make, and how to remedy them.
Keep Your Phone Unlocked
People may not put a password on their phone because entering a code every time you use it is annoying, and besides, they don’t give anyone else their phone. With that said, however, if you lose your device, anyone can look through it with the swipe of a finger. While it won’t prevent hackers, this is a basic way to prevent people from accessing your phone.
So implement a strong password to keep your phone locked, especially in situations where you may risk losing your phone. If it’s really annoying to do, turn it off whenever you’re at home.
Using Wi-Fi That’s Public
If you’re afraid of your security data being stolen, you may want to reconsider using public Wi-Fi. Information that goes through it will be visible if a person knows how to view. People can access and steal your information if you’re not careful.
If you don’t want to eat up your mobile data and are going to be at a location with public Wi-Fi for a good while, consider connecting with a Virtual Private Network, or VPN. This will allow for a secure connection with even the most public networks and, in fact, it is only one of the many VPN benefits that you can get.
Not Using Antivirus and Security Apps
People assume that an antivirus is something a computer only needs. However, they could not be more wrong. These same people are always updating their antivirus while keeping their phone out in the open. Very few smartphones have security software installed fresh out of the box, and very few people take measures to install good antivirus software.
If you want a good, free app for your Android, consider Avast, AVG, or Bitdefender. If you have an Apple device, their phones are designed to be free of malware. For now, anyway.
In addition, you can install an antitheft app that will prevent thieves from stealing your data. For instance, there’s an app called Prey that will wipe your phone if someone takes your phone.
Also, you can always track your phone down with its GPS. Find My iPhone and Where’s My Droid are features for iPhone and Android that will help find your device.
Not Updating Your Phone
Those updates can be a pain, and sometimes they include changes that aren’t welcomed, such as interface makeovers. With that said, you should always update, even if you’re skeptical. Updates are there to patch problems with security and make your phone function better.
You should also update all the apps as well. Check your phone every week or so to see if there’s an update available.
Forgetting to Verify Those Apps
How do you verify an app, you may ask. Verifying means that you research the developer and the app before installing. Look at the history of the developer, their past apps, and reviews before you install.
It’s easy to do, and will save you a lot of trouble. Some apps main contain malware, and while iPhone users are mostly safe from that, the more lenient rules in the Play Store can be trouble for Android users.
Clicking on Links Without Checking
Smartphone users are more likely to be phished than people on the phone. This is because they tend to be less worried about security. And after all, a fake login page is easier to detect on a desktop computer than it is on your cell phone.
If the URL is shortened, it may be even more difficult. So don’t click on links that are sent via instant message or SMS. Look at them beforehand, and make sure you’re not clicking on them without knowing what you’re getting into.
Jailbreaking or Rooting Without Knowing What You’re Getting Into
Jailbreaking your iPhone or rooting your Android means that you’re removing a lot of limits the manufacturers have imposed on your phone. This can make your device more customizable and allow you to download things you normally could not.
Of course, you’re also getting rid of security measures as well. This isn’t to discourage doing that to your device, but if you want to, do research. Figure out how you can jailbreak or root your device and still keep it safe.
Keeping Bluetooth On
People can hijack your phone using your Bluetooth connection. They can do this by being at least 30 feet away, so they can do it with ease. They can steal all your data and you wouldn’t even know it. So your best bet is to keep Bluetooth off unless you’re receiving or sending a file. Besides that, it drains battery life.
Not Logging Out
It’s always nifty to be able to go to Facebook, Amazon, and PayPal without having to log in. However, staying logged in always can increase your risk greatly. Do not allow your usernames and passwords to be saved, and always log out whenever possible.
While it’s annoying to always log in, it’s an easy step you can do to make sure that you’re safe. Do it to your browser on your computer as well. If they ask to save your username and password, do not do it. Also, you should delete your browsing history regularly.
Keeping Super Sensitive Data on Your Phone
It’s convenient to have your bank account, credit card, social security, and other sensitive numbers in your phone so you can look them up whenever you need to. However, if your phone is stolen, they can easily access those, and then they can ruin your life. So your best bet would be to store this data in your home, or find a way to encrypt it.
You shouldn’t feel bad if you do these things, as they’re all common. While your chances of being hacked are not high and you shouldn’t be paranoid about it, you should be safe. Take your online security seriously and do some research to stay safe.
These measures can help you protect your phone in the long run, and you can one-up thieves if your phone happens to be stolen.