A smartphone is a pocket-sized computer with many functionalities. However, due to its small size and portability, it is also easier for it to get lost or stolen. Additionally, cybercrime is on the rise of hackers attacking smartphones with ransomware and spyware programs.
That is why, it is of utmost importance that you understand your smartphone is “your digital life“, and you must protect it likewise. And the most crucial tip I can provide you is to stay vigilant and follow the precautions given below.
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Avoid almost anything suspicious
Your common sense is your best friend in your digital life. You must avoid every suspicious application, email, or website. I understand that it is hard to look out for suspicious things when they are cloaked under a realistic scheme. That is why I will suggest avoiding anything that is too good to be true.
For example, if you receive an email offering you a loan without interest or an email asking for any sensitive information like passwords, then you know it is a probable spam email. Also, please stay away from pirated media and software products because they usually pack in some malicious malware.
Furthermore, I will suggest you to read our posts on phishing attacks and tips and tricks to stay safe from them and a few methods to stay safe online. These will help you understand the common risks and how to look out for them.
Keep apps and system up-to-date
Every software comes with its flaws or vulnerabilities. Although every operating system tries its best to remove bugs, it is not possible to prevent it wholly; thanks to the complex nature of the modern software.
Though you may not have a bug-free software, you can keep software up-to-date (Android or iOS and your installed apps in this case) to get the latest fixes and patches. It helps you avoid all known bugs and problems, thus minimizing the risk of a hacker attempting an attack on your smartphone.
You can enable auto-update of the system in Android by enabling its option, which is present somewhere in the Settings. Moreover, you can allow the same for the apps as well if you have Google Play Store. Please open its Settings, go to “Auto-update apps” and choose one of the last two options from the list.
Similarly, you can enable the automatic updates in iOS by opening its Settings > General > “Software Update” > “Automatic Updates” and toggling it on. Also, you can enable the app updates from inside the Settings — swipe down to the option named “iTunes & App Store” and toggle on the option named Updates.
Utilize the built-in security features
Android and iOS come with numerous essential functions to help you secure your smartphone, and you must make the best use of them to enhance your security. First of all, you must activate a password for the lock screen. Then, lock apps and your data; and remember to use different passwords each time.
In Android, you can find all the security options under its Settings > “Security & lock screen” (depends on your phone’s manufacturer). You can see options such as Screen Lock (lock the screen), Smart Lock (unlock easily without a password), Fingerprint (unlock using fingerprint), and Face Unlock (unlock with a face).
In iOS, you will find all the lock and security features under its Settings > “Touch ID & Passcode“. You will find multiple options to secure your device here such as Change Passcode (lock screen using a password), Touch ID (use fingerprint), and Face-ID (unlock using your face; however, it is only available in iPhone X).
Lastly, you also need to encrypt your phone to protect it from thieves who wish to brute-force your phone and steal its data. In Android, go to Settings > “Security & lock screen” > “Encrypt phone“. In iOS, it auto-encrypts the device, but you must add a passcode for enhanced security (check above).
Limit connections to secure networks
Wi-Fi networks’ security protocols (a protocol protects a wireless network) are known to be insecure, and some of the hotspots are usually open. That means some of the free hotspots are unprotected, and others which ask for a password to connect even do not confirm your security; contrary to the common belief.
That is why, it is always recommended to avoid open hotspots or free Wi-Fi, and if you need to, please use a VPN. A VPN encrypts your connection even if the network does encrypt the connection, making it as an additional security mechanism. Fortunately, there are many free yet popular VPN services.
So you can use a VPN to secure an open network. Many of the VPN providers offer support for Android, and you can directly download their VPN apps for Android as well. You can also search for VPN in the iTunes Store for iOS.
Download a backup & restore solution
Backup and restore solution is a must to protect your data from any mishappening like theft or damage to your phone and the data inside it.
Super Backup & Restore is one of the leading backup and restore solutions for Android that can backup apps, call logs, contacts, and more. However, it cannot backup app data, so you must also enable the option of backing up to Google Drive. You can find it under Settings > “Backup & reset” > “Back up my data“.
There is no such free solution for iOS, but I find the options given by iOS itself are enough for making backups and restoring them when required. You can enable backups by heading over to Settings > [Your Name] > iCloud and toggle on the option named “iCloud Backup“. You can also backup using iTunes.
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Set up remote tracking and wipe option
Last but most important, you need to install and use a remote monitoring and wipe solution to prepare for the worse case of losing your smartphone. Of course, such a solution does not guarantee recovery of your device or wiping of its data, but it helps to track or recover it or wipe it as the last measure.
If you are using Android, you shall use Find My Device from Google. It is a simple solution that provides the must-have features and is connected to your account at Google. You can track your phone’s location, sound an alarm, lock and show a message on the lock screen, and wipe it remotely from its web interface.
If you are a user of iOS, you can make use of Find My iPhone from Apple. It also packs in bare minimum features like Find My Device, allowing you to track your iPhone or iPad remotely from the web. You can check the phone’s location, lock device and show a message, and erase your device if nothing else works.
That was all about the vital tips for securing your smartphone. Please note that there are more tips and tricks based on your mobile platform, but the above tips and tricks will help you to safeguard your device from common dangers.