Smartphones have become an everyday necessity. While we use them to communicate with people in our circles, we also tend to use them for shopping, banking, and businesses. This is how something as benign as a smartphone becomes the greatest cybersecurity risk.
A regular smartphone contains saved login credentials, credit card information, and other private and sensitive data. If it gets hacked, you stand to lose so much.
We are talking about identity theft and stolen credit card info here. Hackers can even get access to your emails. Fortunately, there are ways to hack-proof your smartphone.
Adopt Healthier Cyber Security Practices
Did you ever think about what will happen if you lose your phone? You stand to lose a lot if someone gets hold of all your online accounts.
Whether you own an iPhone or Android phone, you should use a screen lock or any other advanced lock features such as PIN, face recognition, pattern, and fingerprint.
The next thing you should do is use stronger passwords. The best way to come up with a strong password is to use a series of small and upper cases, numbers, and special symbols and make a combination that’s not logical at all.
Don’t reuse passwords. Make sure to use a unique one for each of your online accounts. If you have trouble remembering them, feel free to use one of the password manager apps.
Finally, enable multi-factor authentication on all online accounts that feature it. These healthy cybersecurity practices are the first step towards hack-proofing your smartphone.
Use a VPN
Virtual Private Networks are designed to help you stay anonymous and safe while online. Installing a VPN app on your smartphone is a smart idea, especially if you find yourself using open and public WiFi networks quite frequently.
A VPN connection is not a regular one. It features state of the art encryption and security protocols that will keep you safe and secure. Even if you somehow get targeted by cybercriminals, your original IP address and your traffic will remain hidden.
As a bonus, you’ll be able to change your virtual location and bypass geo-block to access streaming services.
Turn Off Bluetooth When You Aren’t Using It
Do you know that Bluetooth is one of the most vulnerable technologies out there? If you keep it on constantly, you will expose your phone to hacks, malware, and other viable threats.
Hackers commonly use it as a backdoor to access your device and download your data. What’s even more tragic about it is that there’s no way to tell whether you were hacked via Bluetooth until it’s too late.
Fortunately, you can avoid this inconvenience if you turn off your Bluetooth when it isn’t in use. While having it off will keep you off any hacker’s radar, it will also help you save your phone’s battery.
Make Sure to Update Your Phone OS and Apps Regularly
Every operating system is vulnerable to cyber-attacks. The developers are constantly working on patching known bugs and vulnerabilities. iOS and Android are not exceptions. Make sure to check for OS updates at least once a week. Keeping your phone OS updated to the latest version significantly minimizes the risks of getting hacked.
The same applies to apps. Both iOS and Android have settings that allow you to automate app updating. It doesn’t matter whether you choose to update when on WiFI or when connected to a charger, as long as you do it!
Enable Phone Tracking
Even if you do everything we recommended, once your phone gets stolen, there is no way to be sure that your defenses will keep perpetrators at bay. Having backup measures is quite handy for these scenarios.
Both Google and Apple offer convenient ways to track your smartphone. Thanks to Apple’s Find My iPhone service, you can locate, lock, or erase your phone after it gets stolen, even if you followed through the security tips for iOS devices.
Android users have the same opportunity through Google’s Device Manager feature.
Be Mindful of Your Lock Screen Notifications
The default settings on iPhone and Android phones is to show notification even on a locked screen. While this is convenient, it can get you in trouble, especially if the notification is so juicy that it motivates someone standing behind you to steal your phone.
Your virtual assistant can also be accessed from the lock screen if you left the default settings. You don’t want the thief to be able to talk to Siri or Google Assistant. It will take you just a minute to disable lock screen notifications and lock screen virtual assistants.
Each one of these steps will bring your smartphone close to being hack-proofed. As you can see, a VPN app will provide umbrella-like online protection, while using strong passwords, phone tracking, and Bluetooth only when you need it helps render your phone even more resilient to hacks.