When you bring up the subject of being hacked and virus protection, most people’s thoughts don’t turn to their phone. Unfortunately it is not just the computer sitting on your desk that is at risk; the computer in your pocket can be hacked as well.
Luckily, as with your desktop computer, there are several steps you can take to avoid becoming a victim.
Lock Your Phone
Whenever your phone is not in use, it should be locked. The lock code should be something that people cannot easily guess in order to prevent unauthorized use and ensure that strangers cannot easily access your personal information or install nefarious programs. Lock patterns and facial or voice recognition can be good alternatives if you have trouble remembering your lock code.
Activate GPS Tracking
Many modern phone’s come with built in tracking capability. When activated, this feature not only allows you to track the phone’s location, but also remotely lock or wipe the data in order to minimize damage.
Update the Firmware
Most smartphone operating systems will install firmware updates automatically but if yours does not, or you have disabled this feature, be sure to check regularly for important updates. Firmware and software updates are released fairly frequently in order to patch exploits and prevent hackers from gaining access to your personal information.
Only Install Apps from Trusted Companies
When finding and installing apps, use the app store maintained by your OS and be cautious of third party creations. Never install an app from an unknown creator without checking it carefully for malware and viruses. Be especially cautious of apps that ask for lots of personal information.
Avoid Leaving It Unattended
Even with a good lock code, an unattended phone is still vulnerable to technologically savvy criminals. Avoid leaving it in public places where it may be tampered with or stolen such as on restaurant tables, bars, or your office desk. If you must leave it unattended, place it out of sight to prevent temptation.
Be Cautious of Links from Unknown Senders
If you receive an email or text message from an unknown sender, do not click any links contained within! They are likely phishing attempts meant to install malware on your phone or steal your personal information.
Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi hotspots are quite convenient but they should never be used for important communications or sharing sensitive personal information as they can be easily intercepted. Shopping and banking should only be performed over your mobile carrier’s network and not over free, public Wi-Fi connections.
Install an Anti-Virus App
No matter how cautious you are day-to-day, it is still possible to make a mistake and click an unsafe link or wander onto a website you shouldn’t be on. In order to prevent these mistakes from costing you big, ensure your online safety with an anti-virus app.