When thinking of cyberthreats, a person’s mind typically goes to their laptop or desktop computer or they even imagine a company’s server room full of devices connecting to their networks. However, when it comes to cybersecurity and protecting devices, protecting our smartphones is not always at top of mind, despite it being our most used device. Using the tips below, you can help to protect your important data and secure your smartphone.
- Keep OS up-to-date – Keep your phones operating system (OS) updated not only in order to take advantage of updates features, but also increased security. Doing this and regularly backing up your phone are some of the important basics in protecting your phone.
- Beware third-party applications – By only downloading applications for your phone from trusted sources, you can be sure that you yourself did not download a virus to your phone via some app you wanted to try. It can also be very beneficial to review reviews from other users to ensure these desired applications are legitimate.
- Turn off unused features – When you’re not needing to access WiFi or Bluetooth on your phone, it is more secure for you to hit the buttons to temporarily turn off these features on your phone. Though this may seem more like an unnecessary step, hackers can identify unsecured phones and take advantage of ignored and unused connections.
- Avoid Public USB Charging Stations – When you plug in your phone into your laptop directly with a USB cable, you are given the option to access all sorts of information from this connection. While a USB charging station may be preferred since many people do not carry around the wall connection, this direct connection via the USB cord allows for something called “juice jacking” where cybercriminals can infect a USB port with malware and then infect your phone when you unsuspectingly plug into it.
- Use Public Wi-Fi Sparingly – Typically it is a good judgement call to not trust public WiFi as these connections are not very secure. While you may need to look something up quickly to help you know where to go or find a coffee shop nearby, it is best to keep use of public WiFi to a minimum. Additionally, it is especially beneficial to be sure to avoid accessing valuable and personal information such as financial data while in public.
- Beware suspicious callers or texts – Beware of suspicious calls or texts
- App Access Monitoring – Monitor and restrict app permissions regarding access to your phone’s microphone, camera, or location. On many phones now, there will be a prompt when you initially purchase an app asking if it can access the microphone, camera, or location — if the option is given (which it typically is if an app is downloaded from a legitimate source) to only access the requested feature once or only while the app is in use, this is best, as most apps do not need constant awareness or access to these features. Additionally, be sure to scrutinize whether or not the permissions being asked by the app make sense — if a game app that has nothing to do with location requests access to your location, don’t offer than information up to them — they don’t need it.