How do You Protect the Data on Your Mobile
Smartphones store a wealth of personal data. Many workplaces have a BYOD policy and employees log in to the office network from their phones. It is surprising then that mobile phone security hardly receives the attention it deserves. But with the steep hike in mobile cyber incidents, there has been an increasing interest in mobile security.
Mobile malware is a lucrative venture for hackers. So how do you protect the data on your mobile? Our cybersecurity experts give you a few tips on keeping your mobile data secured.
Secure the lock screen
This may seem pretty basic, but also one that is widely ignored. If you feel that typing a password or drawing a pattern every time is too much work, think of – What data do you have stored on your phone? Contact Information? Passwords saved in browsers? Social media accounts? WhatsApp? Personal or Family pictures and information? Perhaps sensitive info like credit card numbers or passwords? If you use your mobile at work, then work-related access and files?
Now think if all of this can be accessed by anyone with just a swipe! Securing the lock screen with a password or pattern is the first step to protecting the data on your mobile.
Install a security app
If your PC has an antivirus, then why not your phone. Considering that you probably access the internet more on your phone than on a desktop, you must install a good security app on your phone. Most security apps have additional features like data back-up, remote wipe and tracking location of the missing phone.
Setup remote wipe
Enable Find My Phone and Remote Wipe features on your phone. Most smartphones have free versions of these features, or you can get it with a security app. If your phone is lost or missing, you can locate where it is. You can delete all data from your phone with a Remote Wipe if you suspect it is stolen.
Note your IMEI
Every phone has a unique International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number. It can speed up locating your phone if it is ever stolen or lost. The IMEI number can be found in phone settings or behind the battery.
Update software patches
Software updates to your phone provide functionalities as well as important security patches. Keeping your phone software updated will help to fix vulnerabilities.
For most people, their phones are the only contact directory they have. You may also have important messages or files saved on your smartphone. Backup data regularly to external drives or cloud to ensure that you can easily access the information if your phone goes missing or crashes.
Install apps from official app stores only
Your phone’s app store reviews and checks apps for malware and other bugs before accepting them to the store. It is always safer to download apps from official app stores and trusted sources. With so many third party apps out there, you can never be sure of their security.
Limit access permissions for apps
When you install an app, it will ask for access permissions. Be careful with the permissions that you grant. Most apps will need access to files to save things, GPS for location and camera to take photos. Double-check apps that ask for more like your profile information or contact list.
Many apps sell information like your internet usage pattern or location to advertisers. While it is necessary for apps to have basic access to function, you should not accept all permission requests without checking.
Avoid public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi is an easy method for hackers to access your phone. While free data can be quite tempting, remember that even an amateur hacker can easily snoop on your phone when connected to public Wi-Fi. If you cannot avoid using a public Wi-Fi service, use a VPN to connect to the internet. A VPN will keep your activity anonymous and encrypted.
Remove SIM and memory card before sale or repairs
If you plan to sell your phone, ensure that you remove the SIM and memory card before you do the handover. It is advisable to do the same before you send your smartphone for repairs. It will be a good idea to take a back-up of all your data and wipe off all your information before you pack off the phone for repairs or sale.
BYOD – Bring Your Own Device is a policy where employees can use their devices at work with specific regulations to be followed.
VPN – Virtual Private Network – is an encrypted connection across a public network that provides online anonymity.
Malware – A term for Malicious Software intended to cause harm to devices, networks and servers. Common types include viruses, ransomware, spyware, adware, Trojan horses etc.