8 Tips For Securing Your Mobile Device

Keeping your mobile device secure isn’t too much of a tall order. In fact, it’s remarkably easy. You needn’t spend too long, and invest a lot to secure it either. Here are eight quick tips that will ensure your device is security hardened against most of the digital threats out there.

Tip 1 – Keep your phone screen locked

The number of people we see who don’t have any form of screen lock on their phone is worrying. It doesn’t take long to setup a screen lock, so take a moment to set one up. Lock your screen with either a passcode, pattern, fingerprint or facial recognition. Also, ensure that the device will lock when idle for thirty seconds to a minute.

Tip 2 – Set secure passwords

As with the desktop, you’ll need to ensure that all your passwords are secure, and not easy to guess. Don’t opt for the more obvious ones, such as Password or 12345, and try not to go for dictionary words, or anything associated with you – such as your birthdate.

Instead, set a password that contains uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers and special characters. To greatly improve your security, set a new password for each app that requires you to login.

Tip 3 – Keep your device up to date

There are always flaws being discovered in operating systems and the apps that are installed on a system. Some of these flaws can create a security nightmare, giving a hacker access to your entire digital life.

Always check for updates for both the operating system, the device’s unique manufacturer additions, and all the apps you have installed. If possible, ensure that each of these are set to automatically check on a daily basis, so you don’t miss an important update.

Tip 4 – Connect to a secure, trusted WiFi network

Although it’s tempting, try not to connect to WiFi hotspots, and if you do, ensure that the hotspot you’re connecting to is as secure as possible.

It’s remarkably easy for someone to create a Man-in-the-Middle attack on a hotspot network, where the hacker uses software to assume the WiFi hotspot signal. This means that any data sent to and from the internet to a connected device will route through their hijacked connection, revealing your browsing data to them.

Tip 5 – Beware of downloads

Try to use only the verified app stores for the type of mobile device you have: Apple Store for iOS devices, Google Play for Android devices. The app stores have verified their content, so there’s much less of a chance of downloading any app that’s compromised.

If you do download from a third-party, then check the app reviews, check for any recent updates and the app’s contact information, and run a search for any examples of the app being hijacked by hackers.

Tip 6 – Don’t Jailbreak or Root your device

Jailbreaking or Rooting your mobile device will unlock the device’s operating system security, allowing you gain access to the administrative layer – the root. This will give you full control over the device and its software, enabling you to install a custom OS, or the ability to hack any games you have installed.

It sounds great, and a lot of users swear that unlocking their device makes it better and faster, and does away with the extra baggage the manufacturer pre-installs on it. However, it also opens up a huge security hole, and makes it just that much easier for someone else to gain access and hack.

Tip 7 – Install anti-malware software

Anti-malware, or anti-virus software will protect your device from any currently known malware and hackers. It’ll protect you while browsing the internet, as well as protecting you from fraud messages and emails, and in some cases even protect your children from unsolicited messages.

Most anti-virus software purchased for the desktop will contain a number of licenses that can work with mobile devices. Use the likes of Bitdefender, Kaspersky or Norton 360 to find a good example.

Tip 8 – Encrypt your data

Encrypting your data will stop anyone who gains access to the files stored on your devices from being able to read their contents. Even if they get hold of a file, then it’ll be unreadable without the de-encryption keys provided by the encryption setup process.

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David Hayward

David has spent most of his life tinkering with technology, from the ZX Spectrum, getting his hands on a Fujitsu VPP5000/100 supercomputer, and coding on an overheating Raspberry Pi. He's written for the likes of Micro Mart, Den of Geek, and countless retro sites and publications, covering reviews, creating code and bench testing the latest tech. He also has a huge collection of cables.

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