Smartphones have gone from novelty items to hubs for communication, entertainment, travel, research, banking, navigation, and capturing it all for posterity. If you’re a person whose daily functioning and secrets are tied to your phone, make sure that only you can access it.
The easiest way to secure your phone is to always keep it with you. Most people have conditioned themselves to regularly check their phone throughout the day. The ability to remotely track, lock, or erase phones using the Find My Device or Find My iPhone apps makes your phone less attractive to thieves and generally less dangerous to lose.
Remote access technology helps only if you’ve turned on those features and added a security measure to get beyond your lock screen. Most phones allow you to set a passcode, PIN, or pattern. High end phones might let you choose fingerprints, irises, voices, or faces for phone access. Security experts generally recommend using a complex password rather than any kind of biometric confirmation.
Once you’ve secured your phone physically, make sure no one can get in virtually. Here are some steps you can take.
- Encrypt your phone. An iPhone is encrypted once you set a PIN or passcode. Androids can be encrypted by selecting Encryption in the Security & Location settings.
- Install updates and security patches.
- Get apps only from the iOS App Store or Google Play to avoid malware and data leakage.
- Lock individual apps to prevent access by anyone you lend your phone to.
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) when you’re on public Wi-Fi.
- Get a password manager and use different passwords across the web.
- Keep Bluetooth off unless you’re using it.
- Apps may ask to use contacts, camera, mic, location, etc. If the app asks for permissions outside the scope of its function, deny it access to those devices or files.
- Don’t fall for phishing. Avoid clicking links in emails and opening files from unknown sources.
- Get antivirus software for your Android device. iOS don’t need antivirus software as long as you keep it updated, but you can get apps that offer VPNs, fraud alerts, and backup.
- Get a second phone number to add another buffer between hackers and your accounts.
- Enable two-factor authentication on accounts and devices that allow it.
It’s estimated that 28% of people do nothing to secure their phones. Take time now to keep your phone, and all the information it contains, safe.