Most people don’t realize just how valuable their smartphones are. Whether you have a top of the line iPhone or Samsung or a more budget-friendly phone, your phone is worth a whole lot more than just its retail price. This is because it contains something much more valuable—your data.
As more of our total web usage shifts from desktop to mobile, smartphones have increasingly become a target for hackers and thieves. It’s much different than losing your wallet because when somebody breaks into your smartphone, they can access everything from emails to financial records and much more. Here are some of the critical current security risks and what steps you can take to ensure your data is safe. Everything goes back to taking the right precautions, and that begins by using a mobile VPN to secure your connection and prevent digital attacks.
The Public WiFi Trap
Everybody loves free WiFi. Who doesn’t want to save their data and some cash? Even if you have an unlimited data package, WiFi is often much faster. Whatever your reason for using it, public WiFi is one of the easiest places for you to jeopardize your digital security. The main problem is you have no idea whether the connection is secure.
Any time you connect to a network, your IP address and browsing history is visible to both network admins and individuals who may have hacked into it. When websites aren’t encrypted, it’s even easier for someone to track your activity. In general, it’s best to avoid public WiFi and create a hotspot from your phone if you are using a laptop or other device.
If you can’t pass up the free WiFi, then connect through a mobile VPN similar to this one. A VPN or virtual private network encrypts your network connection and anonymizes your IP address so that outside eyes can’t see what you are doing.
Keep Your Device Secure
There are two main overlapping threats to your smartphone. The first is hackers who attempt to gain access to your phone remotely. The second takes into account the smartphone and other devices are small and easily lost or stolen. Begin by ensuring you have a passcode enabled on your device, otherwise, you’re just making it too easy for thieves!
Take advantage of the latest technology and utilize fingerprint and facial recognition technology not just to unlock your phone, but also on sensitive apps such as banking and other financial transactions. Even for apps where privacy is less of a concern, you should utilize two-factor authentication to log in. You’d be surprised what information hackers can learn even from seemingly simple apps like Instagram or Twitter.
Additionally, Apple devices have a Find My Device tool, and there are similar apps on Android, which you can use to find lost or stolen devices. Take advantage of this to track down your phone. Be sure they also include a remote erase feature. Remember, it’s no fun losing something that costs several hundred dollars, but your privacy is worth much more than that.
Be Careful with Your Apps
Many people don’t realize that there’s a lot more going on with apps that you see on the surface. Apps have backdoor access to many of the essential features of your phone including your contacts, camera and microphone, and a lot more. It’s critical for you to do a little research about the app before you download it.
Check the reviews and ratings and make sure the publisher has a solid reputation. Also, be sure you know what permissions it has, you don’t have to let it access everything if you don’t want it to.
Besides, even apps from solid publishers may become compromised by malware or face other problems. For this reason, it’s essential you keep your apps always up to date to ensure they have the latest security patch. You also should consider downloading a security app which can check all your downloads to make sure everything is safe.
Protecting Yourself from Risks
Mobile security breaches can happen to anybody, and they do. Even tech giants like eBay, Yahoo, and Facebook have suffered attacks. The most important thing you can do is protect yourself. Hackers and thieves prey on easy targets. In the real world, make sure you always know where your devices are and that each has a strong, unique passcode.
In the digital world, it is essential you take steps to protect your connection. This begins by using a mobile VPN to encrypt and anonymize your connection. From here, you have to be proactive. Make sure you scan all downloads and avoid visiting unsecured websites. Likewise, you need to educate and train your staff and colleagues on these safe device usage strategies. By doing this, you minimize your risks and ensure you don’t become a victim of a serious hack.