Simple guide to use your threat-free smartphone
Just like any other digital device that can connect to the internet, your mobile phone poses a security threat if you don’t take the steps required to protect it. With so many new apps being released in the Apple App Store and the Google Play Store every day, it’s difficult to know which ones can be trusted.
There have been plenty of reports of users installing apps on their phones which can then do anything from tracking everything you type to taking control of your camera without your knowledge. This is a seriously scary prospect if you value your privacy and don’t want identity thieves to be able to steal your identity or bank details. That's why users also need to focus on mobile device security along with other security aspects.
There are many ways you can protect your mobile device, including installing apps to help protect you from viruses. There are also plenty of simple steps you can take in order to improve the security of your phone.
If you want to keep your mobile device safe and secure, here are some simple steps you can take today to ensure your security.
Antivirus software isn’t only for your desktop computer. There are versions available for tablets and mobile devices. A common complaint of antivirus software is that it slows down your device, but this isn’t always the case if you find the right software.
Avast offers a free antivirus software that can scan in the background or on command. It will also check your apps to make sure nothing is running without your permission and help clean up your device.
The result? A faster-running device and less risk of downloading anything nefarious.
One of the simplest forms of security that many people don’t make use of is the screen lock. If your device is ever stolen, the simplest way to keep your information safe is a screen lock.
It will prevent the device from being easily sold on. Try to keep away from any predictable passwords such as 1234 or your birth date, as this might be easy to guess or figure out. Better still, if your device has facial recognition or fingerprint technology, make sure that you activate it.
This is different from your screen lock. When you turn on your device, before your phone connects to a network or loads any information from the SIM card, it should ask you for a pin code.
By activating this safety feature, you will prevent thieves from being able to use your phone if it’s stolen and will also prevent them from simply putting your SIM card into another phone if they cannot unlock the screen on yours.
If you ever misplace your phone, you’ll have a much better chance of being reunited with it if you have a “find my phone” app activated. This will allow you to log into another device and track down your phone wherever it is.
This can help you whether you’ve left it in a restaurant, or if your phone has been stolen on the street. If your phone is stolen, you should always inform the police of your phone’s whereabouts rather than chasing after your phone yourself.
You should never allow your phone to connect to any WiFi network without your permission. This is an easy backdoor into your phone that can easily be used to steal your private information.
Many people allow their phone to connect to any available network if it doesn’t have password protection, but this can be problematic. Always turn off this feature on your phone if you want to keep your phone secure.
If you’ve ever installed an app on your phone and mindlessly agreed to everything it asks, you might find that some apps have access to things you wouldn’t want them to have access to. An app that has access to your microphone can easily be compromised and used to spy on you.
Review your app permissions regularly and look out for anything out of the ordinary. This might include apps with access to your microphone or camera, and apps you don’t recognize.
Rebecca Harper is a freelance writer and intern for BCN Group, a leading IT company in Manchester. You can find her on Twitter: @BeccHarps.