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Top 8 Tips to keep your Smartphone Secure

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According to Statista, there are 7.02 billion smartphone users in 2023, i.e., a whopping 88% of the population worldwide owns a smartphone. Moreover, there are 7.42 billion mobile phone users around the globe.

An integral part of our lives

People are texting, calling, browsing, streaming, and doing all sorts of stuff every day with the help of their devices. We store most of your personal information on our smartphones and complete essential tasks like banking, shopping, calling a cab, sending emails, social media and much more.

It has become an integral part of our lives and accompanies us wherever we go. With so much sensitive data getting filled in our handheld devices, cybercriminals are always eyeing a small loophole to pounce on.

Tips to keep your smartphone secure

Once they sneak in, a lot of your information, like banking data, images, and other private stuff, is at stake. They can use your data for illegal purposes and you can pay heftily for it. Be vigilant and smart to keep cyber-attacks at bay.

Here are some tips to keep your smartphone secure from data breaches and hacking.

1.     Use screen lock

When leaving your house, you ensure it is locked to keep the bad guys away. The same goes for your mobile. When not in use, use a screen lock. Nowadays, all smartphones come with multiple screen lock options.

Some people use the pattern lock; some unlock it using their fingerprints; some do it with a PIN or password, while others use the face unlock functionality. If you are using a password or pattern, ensure they are strong enough so no one can remember or replicate it.

Using a 4-digit PIN can be risky as it is easy to remember. Also, typing in a strong password each time instead of a PIN can take longer. However, it makes your phone secure and almost impossible to unlock.

Make your passwords strong by using combinations of numbers, letters, and special characters.

Important: Hide your phone or tilt it in a way that no one else can see the screen when unlocking it using a pattern or password.

2.     Lock your important apps

Setting up a screen lock may not be enough in today’s time. To be on the safe side, strengthen your smartphone’s security by locking important apps. This will serve as an extra layer of safety. You can do it easily on Android phones from Settings > Security & privacy > App lock.

Moreover, you can choose from several dedicated app lock software available for free from Google Play Store. These apps enhance the security using fingerprint, password, or pattern of your important apps that you don’t want anyone to access if the phone lock is open.

By setting up an app lock, your most valuable apps like banking, email accounts, or WhatsApp will require another level of security to pass to access them. You can add this 2x protection to any app installed on your smartphone

However, iOS allows you to limit screen time for unauthorised access to some first-party apps. Open the Screen Time tab and enable it. Move to the Content and Privacy Restrictions sections and select Allowed Apps.

Turn off toggles for the apps you don’t want to use and save the setting by heading back to the home screen. iPhone is considered one of the best phones for privacy as it lets you lock apps using its Guided Access.

This feature is beneficial when you hand over your smartphone to a person to use a particular app. They cannot head anywhere else or open any other app except the one you want them to use.

To enable this ‘app limiting functionality,’ open the Settings app and choose Accessibility. Select Guided Access and enable the toggle. Lastly, tap on Passcode settings and set your Guided Access Passcode, limiting the other users’ access to other apps.

3.     Log out of apps after use

If you’ve got limited options to lock the most critical apps on your smartphone, you can stay safe by logging out of the apps that are vulnerable to attacks and contain personal information. We know staying logged in is convenient, especially if you are a frequent user of that specific app.

All you have to do is tap on the app and do your required task. However, if somebody gets hold of your phone, it is very easy for them to do whatever they want, like make transactions from your online banking apps, shop stuff they like, post whatever they wish publicly to defame you and much more.

So, logging out of the apps after use is an easy way to secure your smartphone from unauthorised use and loss of vital data.

4.     Beware of spam emails and phishing emails

Spam emails have become a norm nowadays and your inbox folder is always loaded with junk emails. A lot of these emails are related to promotions and newsletters etc. However, scammers and cyber criminals use phishing emails as bait to lure people into giving their personal data.

They mask themselves as legal entities and try to convince you with irresistible offerings. To stay safe, don’t open emails from unknown senders. Moreover, don’t click on a link within your email or a text message that seems fishy, lures you into a lucrative offer, and requires your personal information.

If any of these links take you to a website or a form that prompts you to enter the essential details, chances are that they are recording this info and may use it for abominable purposes without your consent.

5.     Download apps from trusted sources

If you want to download an app for whichever purpose, download it from Play Store for Android and App Store for Apple devices. Be it a game, a productivity app, banking software, social media app, or whatever, downloading from trusted resources means you are safe.

Google and Apple only allow those apps that don’t exploit their users, and their terms and conditions are according to user safety regulations. Going one step further, check the app’s ratings and reviews before installing it.

Most people don’t go through the privacy policy before installing an app. Read the apps privacy policy and terms to know what features and other permissions they require from you.

6.     Back up your data

Another way to keep your smartphone safe is by backing up your data on cloud. This is a pre-emptive measure and lets you restore your data in case it is lost due to any reason.

Use Google Photos as a backup to save your images and videos. You can access and retrieve your memories from any device by logging into your Google account if your gallery gets cleaned or the phone is stolen.

Similarly, you can store your data, passwords, music, documents, etc, on the cloud. You can access all this vital data from another device, like your computer.

7.     Avoid public networks and public charging points

While on the go, connecting to public Wi-Fi and hotspots is quite tempting to resist. As these are public networks, they may not be as safe as your private network. This means it’s easy for others to breach the network and break into your device.

Avoid public networks and connect to them only as your last resort. However, don’t forget to strengthen your security by using a VPN (virtual private network). A VPN establishes a protected network connection and protects your privacy online.

The same goes for charging your smartphone at public points like cafes, stadiums, airports, etc. It is important to know that connecting your device via a USB establishes a connection and can transmit data. This technique of hacking is called ‘juice jacking.’

So, when in public spots, use your phone data or Wi-Fi device for the internet. The same goes for charging. Bring your charger and plug it into a power socket to charge. A power bank is more than handy in these situations.

8.     Update your device regularly

Be it Android or iOS, they update their operating systems regularly. Regularly update your smartphones and never consider these updates a waste of time and space. These updates are rolled out every now and then to tighten security and come with new features.

Likewise, apps on your phones also send updates. Consider these updates important as they enhance security and come with additional user-friendly features to make your life easy.

Conclusion

The cyber-world is full of dangers and treacherous situations. So, to keep yourself from harm’s way, be smart and use your smartphone wisely. Just follow the tips above to keep your smartphone safe and enjoy the unlimited fun and convenience the smartphone has to offer.

Did we miss out on a point or two? Do let us know in the comments section. We’ll gladly update the blog.

Kossi Adzo is the editor and author of Startup.info. He is software engineer. Innovation, Businesses and companies are his passion. He filled several patents in IT & Communication technologies. He manages the technical operations at Startup.info.

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