If you own a smartphone, you probably love the flexibility it provides by letting you talk, text, and access files from wherever you go. However, there is a huge downside that many of us don’t think about: the security risk. Your smartphone is much more than just a phone; it is a tiny portable computer. Hackers are just as eager to get information from your smartphone as your desktop. But you can protect yourself against mobile security risks by learning a few tricks.
Use Your Phone’s Security Tools
All smartphones come with an option to enable passcode protection. The biggest security mistake you can make is not to enable this function. The most basic passcode is a four-digit numerical code of your choice. Of course, using a passcode will help protect your mobile phone, but you should take this a step further and enable extended passcode or other screen lock options. Depending on the operating system you have there are various options such as multiple digits and letter pins, pattern codes (connecting dots in a certain order), fingerprints, and more. Enable these more secure passcodes to help ensure your data is secure.
Watch Out For Texting Scams
No doubt you have heard about scam calls, but do you know there are also texting scams? Scammers are now turning to texting because they find that the younger generations respond better to texts than they do phone calls. Because scammers know that their texts are more likely to be read than a phone call answered, they send out phishing texts that are vague. They hope to get you to reply or even worse click on their links. So if you receive a text from an unknown number, you need to be leery and hesitate before you reply. Never click on a link from an unfamiliar number, and never offer your information. If the text is really from someone you know, they will clarify their identity.
Encrypt Your Data
[pullquote]Data encryption is a common practice for computer users, and it should be for smartphone users as well.[/pullquote] You can choose a phone that comes with built-in encryption services, or you can download encryption apps to secure your data. There is no easier way to make sure your information is safe. Plus if you get your phone from a trusted provider such as T-Mobile, you can take advantage of their network encryption and built-in security measures. T-Mobile upped their security measures a few years ago and boosted their encryption, making it incredibly hard for people to eavesdrop on phone calls or intercept texts.
Be Leery Of Public Internet
Sure the convenience of being able to go to your favorite coffee shop and work on your smartphone and with free Wi-Fi is outstanding. But, when you use a public internet connection you have to be extremely careful. Hackers are tricky and often offer free Wi-Fi to gain access to all of your information. They create a Wi-Fi connection that looks legit and allows you the access to the internet while they hook up and steal all of your data. Make sure that you are connecting to a secure public network and that you’re not being fooled – a simple question to your favorite barista ensures you’re on a legitimate network.
Avoid Unsafe Mobile Payment Apps
Every day more and more mobile payment apps are developed, but you have to be extremely careful about which apps you use. Hackers attack these types of apps to access your banking information. Although no mobile payment app developer can guarantee that it won’t be hacked, there are steps you can take to protect yourself when using payment apps. Only use reliable payment apps put out by known companies. Do not download apps from unsolicited mobile payment sites or download bootlegged apps; these can contain viruses or spyware. Only pay reputable merchants with your mobile pay apps.
There is no guarantee that you won’t lose your phone or that someone won’t try to steal your information. So why wouldn’t you do everything you can to protect yourself against security risks?