Phones are essential in our life. According to a recent survey, 75.4 percent are addicted to their phones. A staggering 2/3 of respondents check their phones up to 160 times every day!
This is not about criticizing mobile addiction. However, with that much at stake, it’s wise to protect your phone and learn how to keep it safe from hackers. According to research, mobile devices account for 70% of fraud transactions.
Here are seven simple steps to protect your phone from hackers:
1. Install Mobile Security Software
Antivirus and anti-malware software is not just for PCs. You can also use them to protect your phone from hackers.
Did you know that malware can be put on your device while you visit the internet? Malicious email attachments or programs can also infect your smartphone.
Anti-virus software can identify and eradicate malware and warn you about harmful websites and apps. Some spyware can sneak into your phone. Therefore, the anti-virus software scans your device and notifies you when something is wrong.
Standard service is usually free with “freemium” software. However, you can upgrade to a commercial service if you want more features and security. To choose the best solution for your device, compare the benefits and drawbacks of both free and paid versions.
2. Selective Downloading and Installing on Your Phone
Nothing is as it seems. Therefore, be cautious when downloading programs, videos, photos, sounds, files, or email attachments. Before you download anything, keep in mind the following:
- Only download files from trusted sources.
- Before downloading any files, make sure they are virus and malware-free.
- If you’re installing a new or unknown app, look up the developers and read online reviews.
3. Check Your Apps Permissions
When you install an app, it may ask for access to the device‘s email, camera, photo gallery, contacts, or location. Ask yourself if the app really needs to access the information. For example, food delivery apps will require location monitoring, however, they shouldn’t need access to your phone, email, camera, or files.
4. Avoid Public Wi-Fi – Use VPN
Insecure connections allow hackers to spy on and steal data from linked devices. Therefore, avoid public Wi-Fi and instead use cellular data. This is an easy way to protect your phone from hackers.
To keep your mobile hotspot safe, make sure it is password secured. If you have no cellular data, do not work or visit websites that need confidential or sensitive information. Wait until you can use a secure connection to do those things.
If you must use public Wi-Fi, try a VPN to help limit your risk. There are several free or low-cost VPN companies to select from.
One of the numerous advantages of VPNs is that they send online traffic through a private encrypted channel. This encryption means that even if someone breaks your internet connection, you are still relatively safe. Even if they intercept your traffic, they can’t read or modify anything.
5. Avoid SIM Swapping
Hackers sometimes call your mobile service provider and request a replacement SIM card. Unauthorized SIM swapping occurs when a hacker obtains your personal data. This might be your SSN or ID of any kind they might use in a social engineering fraud.
If the attacker persuades your mobile operator to port your number, they can intercept all your calls. In addition, they can get your SMS texts, and even access all your accounts and services.
6. Leave Tracking and Remote Locking On
We’ll presume you’ve set up your phone’s lock screen with a multi-digit number, complex pattern, or face/fingerprint recognition. This is useful if you lose your phone or it gets stolen.
Hackers may easily break the first security mechanism. Even fingerprint and facial recognition security measures can be circumvented. So, the ability to remotely lock your device is critical here.
This is the next line of defense against hackers or anyone else who shouldn’t have access to your phone. The good news is almost all phone providers offer ‘Find My Device’ and remote lock. Therefore, be sure to install the apps and register your device.
These apps also allow you to remotely wipe data from your phone. If you’re convinced your phone is in the wrong hands, you can remotely wipe it to prevent data theft. Make sure you keep a backup of important files and info to protect your phone data.
7. Additional Hacker-Protection Tips
Here are some additional methods for protecting your phone from hackers:
- Disable the “Allow Siri When Locked”
- Password-protect your cloud storage apps.
- Disable smart unlock.
- Password-protect sensitive folders, files, and apps for extra security.
- Avoid public charging ports.
- Make your number invisible or unknown.
- Avoid jailbreaking devices.
Image Credit: Mikhail Nilov; Pexels; Thank you!