7 Ways to Hack-Proof Your Smartphone & Secure Your Data
Let’s face it. No matter how smart we are in protecting our private data online, there’s always someone smarter. The expert hacker is always on the prowl in the digital jungle, waiting for that pristine opportunity to pounce on our confidential information and to steal it. The stealing, needless to say is either to clear out our bank accounts or pry upon very, very confidential information. The CIA has recently proved that none of us are protected completely from hacking attacks. So this is what we need to do to take maximum protection. Regardless of whether you’re using an iPhone, iPad, or Android, here are 8 ways to hack-proof your smartphone.
How to Hack-Proof Your Smartphone
Constantly Upgrade Software & Firmware
Keep track of all software updates and install them accordingly on both your smartphone and computer. Of course, updating does bring about disturbing changes to your computer’s interface that you’ve got used to. But dated software is just what hacks look for and love. So not upgrading is opening up loopholes for them. Make sure that the updates you apply come from official sources.
Also, don’t use unofficial tools for “rooting” your phone (iOS calls it “jailbreaking”), unless you’re absolutely sure of your activity. Technical safeguards can be penetrated on rooted phones and snooping on your confidential data becomes easy.
Choose Your Apps Carefully
While installing a smartphone app, you may have to grant it permission to access your files, camera or eavesdrop on your microphone. So think hard before saying yes as these can be potentially abused. This is applicable particularly to Android users, as its app-vetting process is rather lenient as compared to Apple’s. Moreover, with Android also letting you install apps provided by 3rd parties, it’s also creating a doorway for rogue apps to infiltrate your phone. So just don’t install anything from unfamiliar websites.
Make It Tough for Intruders to Infiltrate
Anyone stealing your phone is likely to cause major trouble. So keep it locked when you don’t use it. The profound news is that both iOS and Android are lockable through a 6-digit code. Alternately, options like facial recognition or fingerprints could be used to protect your confidential information. Also be careful about “smart unlock” options that unlock the phone automatically when you’re either at home, or when the smartwatch is close by. These allow a thief to altogether bypass your personal unlock code.
Make Provisions to Track & Lock your Phone
Although it’s called negative thinking, you need to be practical and always keep in mind that there’s every possibility of your phone getting stolen. At the same time, you have to ensure that the data stored in it is safe, no matter what. Certain advanced phones have this salient feature whereby all data gets automatically erased after the thief makes a couple of unsuccessful and incorrect attempts with the passcode.
Another sterling service provided by both Google and Apple is “find my device”. This can locate your stolen phone on a map while also remotely locking or erasing its data. As an Apple user, you can access this through the iCloud website. You can enable this service on your phone by going to Settings > iCloud > Find My iPhone. Google.com/android/devicemanager is the ID where Android patrons can access this service.
Don’t Patronize Auto-login Features
Auto-login sure is a convenient feature, because virtual keyboards make password typing a task. It also spells danger as a hacker in order to access all your confidential online accounts, just needs to open your browser. Therefore, don’t use your phone’s auto-login features. If at all you do, make use of an app for password management that stipulates that you regularly re-enter a master password.
Also refrain from using the same password for more than one service or app because if that specific password gets identified, it’s usable to get access to all your private information. This is applicable even when you are perfectly careful about keeping your smartphone’s security a top priority item as hackers infiltrate online services regularly to pilfer user credentials, which are then tried out on other different sites. You can create strong random passwords in seconds using this helpful tool.
Keep Individual Apps Locked
A strong password or code may prevent thieves from entering into it but should your phone be physically stolen, then what do you do? The advantage of Android is that individual apps can be locked, thus ensuring that even if the thief gets past the lockscreen, he can’t access your banking app or your email without entering the second password.
Android’s OS doesn’t have this capability, but quite a few free apps are available and which provide it. AVG AntiVirus Free is one such app. iOS users, however, can’t lock individual apps directly, but may use Folder Lock – available for free at the App Store – which can provide password protection to your folders and documents, thus reducing considerably the total amount of confidential information accessible by a cybercriminal.
VPN stands for virtual private network. Connecting to a VPN server allows you to encrypt all of your Internet traffic, protecting your sensitive data from potential hackers and eavesdroppers in the process. Using a VPN is crucial if you often connect to public WiFi hotspots at restaurants, cafes, airports, schools, or hospitals. These free WiFi Hotspots are especially susceptible to cybercriminal attacks. You can easily download and install a VPN app on your iOS or Android device. Take a look at the best VPN services for 2017 in this comprehensive review.
How to Hack-Proof Your Smartphone – Sum-Up
The time we spent browsing the web using our smartphones is continuously growing. Whether is sending emails, checking our social media accounts or bank balance, or making online purchases. Most people unfortunately do not take the necessary measures to protect their data when using their phones, either because of laziness or ignorance. Do not put your sensitive information at risk. Hack-proof your smartphone by using the tricks and tips we suggested above.