Don't be dumb when it comes to safeguarding your smartphone
Some apps have the option to wipe-out data on the phone if it is stolen so you don’t become a victim of identity theft. (Shutterstock)
Ever since the phone got the prefix ‘smart’, it has evolved from being a mere communicating device to the inseparable partner connecting us to the world. From chatting and sharing images, to shopping and transferring money, all is within the touch of the finger with the wonderful little devices. The smartphone is also our own private vault which stores all our info, images, and works.
However, as much as the smartphones have made our lives easier, they also run the risk of information theft, and cyber crimes like identity theft and financial frauds, with so many sensitive datas stored on a small device. From malicious software to phishing and SMiShing, smartphones are getting exposed to all kinds of cyber-attacks as technology gets more and more advanced.
Here are a few golden tips on how to keep your smartphone safe.
1. Activate self destructing lockscreen
Leaving your phone unattended even for a small duration could lead to unauthorised access and possible theft of vulnerable information. Enable lockscreen security to keep your smartphone away from unwanted users. Some fraudsters might even try breaking the lockscreen by trying out passwords. To counter this, you could enable a feature that erases all data from your smartphone after a preset number of failed attempts. Quite easy and simple to activate, every smartphone comes with the feature.
2. Turn off connectivity options when not in use
Turning off phone settings like Bluetooth, Location Services, Near Field Communication (NFC), Wi-Fi and even Cellular Data when not in use not only conserves smartphone battery but also gives hackers less access to your device. The more device is open to connections, the more access hackers will have to your device. Activate the connectivity features only in a safe environment and when needed.
3. Avoid downloading apps that seems suspicious
Your app store is full of different apps. But, you need not act greedy. Only download apps that you actually need and from authentic certified sources. Lesser the number of apps; lesser the access to third parties to your phone, and vice-versa. App ratings and comments say a lot about it. A popular authentic app will have positive comments. An app that has no rating or comments, chances are it might be a fake sneaky app. Avoid such at all costs. Apps are probably the only thing that can harm you by stealing your personal data
4. Be careful of fishy apps and links
Viruses on mobile platforms can be present in many ways. It can be in the form of a ‘dirty’ app that runs in the background transmitting user data. Especially as the Android system allows installation of third-party apps or programmes, its users may expose their mobile phone to attacks if they are not careful about what they download. There are however anti-virus scanning apps for Android that can detect and remove anything that can harm your privacy, you might consider installing anti-virus software especially if your device runs on Android. iOS users do not have anti-virus scanning apps, as Apple’s OS is very strict with what gets on the App Store in the very first place. Skip clicking on links in SMS, MMS, or even email attachments from unknown or unauthorised senders. Also, avoid jailbreaking as this also exposes your device to grave digital risks.
5. Don’t lose it
Also, if you’re thinking of selling your smartphone, carefully delete the data stored on the phone and all the apps along with personal information. Performing factory reset is the easiest way to perform this task – available on all Android, Windows, iOS devices. Keep your phone safe always. Installing apps that can locate your smartphone on your iOS or Android device is essential. The apps can help you locate your phone. Some even have the option to wipe-out the data on the phone so you don’t become a victim of identity theft. Just like your towel, strictly avoid sharing your smartphone with others.
By Faisal Mohammed Naim