If you have a smartphone that gets information from the internet, then you are vulnerable to hacking. Hacking is a term that describes what criminals (and spies) do to get unauthorized access to your computer systems, including on your smartphone. Even if you do not get hacked, your phone could still be accessed by thieves. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your sensitive information from criminals.
1. Do not give criminals an open door
If you think about buying a “jail broken” phone, or you know how to use tools to “root” your smartphone, do not do it. Removing safeguards from your smartphone make it vulnerable to hacking. You may enjoy the features that are available, but it is not wise to give hackers a way to gain access your private information.
2. Update your OS frequently
Phone manufacturers release frequent updates to the operating system on your smartphone. It is important to download these updates immediately because they contain security protections and patches to security points in the operating system. Refusing to update your phone because it is inconvenient leaves your smartphone vulnerable to hackers.
3. Be cautious when choosing apps for your smartphone
Sometimes you are asked to give permissions to an app you download for it to gain access to files, your camera, or listen through the microphone. You should not download an app from an unknown website because of the risks of hacking through this access. If you have an Android phone, you should be especially careful because Google is not as strict in their app-vetting process as Apple.
4. Make it difficult for thieves to get into your smartphone
If someone finds your lost phone, or steals it, they can cause many problems. If you have an email app open on your smartphone, for example, it probably has a lot of personal information. When you are not using your smartphone, make sure your phone is locked with a code. You may also want to take advantage of security features like fingerprint or facial recognition if your phone has them.
5. Open WiFi can be dangerous
The risk of being hacked is severe when you use an open wireless network. Anyone nearby can snoop on you and see what you are doing online. Despite the dangers of using an open WiFi connection, it takes someone with the right skills and special software to hack your smartphone. This means that your phone is probably safe at a local cafe or restaurant. If you are at all in doubt about your online safety, use your phone’s mobile internet connection instead.
6. Monitor lock screen notifications
If someone steals your smartphone, the notifications that pop up on your lock screen could create cause for concern. If you have work or financial information showing up in these notifications, the wrong person could see them. Depending on the thief’s capabilities, they could gain access to all of your financial information.
7. Consider disabling Siri access from the lock screen
In the past, thieves have used Siri from the lock screen to get access to someone’s phone. Siri is not supposed to give out personal information until the access code has been entered, but it has happened.
8. Set locks on individual apps
If someone steals your phone, they could have access to all of your apps, including banking and billing apps. This can be prevented if you have an Android phone and set a lock on individual apps. Although this feature is not available to iOS users automatically, you can get it from one of several free antivirus or security apps.
9. Use an online security service
“LogDog,” an online service, is available to monitor your online identity and notify you if it catches any unusual activity. This service also highlights emails that have sensitive data so you can purge them from your inbox. This service is available to both iPhone and Android users.
10. Do not use auto login features
The convenience of auto login is great, because it is annoying to type in a password every time you want to use an app. The tiny keyboard can make it frustrating typing in IDs and passwords. However, you should think about what would happen if an unauthorized person gets into your phone. They would have access to all your open accounts through auto login.
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