Imagining life without smartphones can be difficult for most people. Let’s face it, not only do we need these gadgets for communication, but we also use them for some other tasks such as booking tickets, banking, shopping and much more! With the help of this mighty technology, you can accomplish important tasks on the go.
But, how secure are these devices in safeguarding our valuable data, passwords, and personal information?
Unlike old-generation mobile phones, which only had a few basic features such as calling and texting, smartphones are capable of storing personal information such as passwords, banking details, credit card numbers, and photos. Cyber crimes are rampant these days, and scams take place every so often. So, you need to be well aware of the risks, and must take precautions to ensure your data is secured from malware attacks and cyber criminals.
Let’s see how to go about it by ensuring smartphone safety in the three leading mobile operating systems.
¨ iPhone (iOS)
Remember, implementing foolproof security measures may sometimes deprive you of a few features. However, your pay off concerning a cyber attack will be much higher. Read through the tips below to ensure iPhone security:
- Instead of typical 4-digit code, use a password
The easiest, but the mightiest mode of protecting your data is to set a strong password for unlocking your phone. Use a combination of letters and digits, which won’t be easy to crack. You can ensure the double protection by setting a password immediately after the lock screen. There is an additional feature in iPhone that you can set as “erase data”, which will wipe off all data from the memory after 10 failed password attempts.
- Don’t activate lock screen notifications
The password won’t prevent your data from being viewed by others if it appears on lock screens. If you have enabled emails, messages, other sensitive information like OTPs, and private information appear on the lock screen, it can be accessed by anyone. So better turn off lock screen notifications.
- Turn on the two-step verification for iCloud and Apple ID
Having two locks can always give you an additional layer of protection. So, try to set up two-step verification for your Apple ID and iCloud login. With this, you can get an additional 4-digit password through SMS or Find My iPhone service. Anytime you sign into the Apple ID, iCloud, iTunes, iBooks, or App Store from a new device, you need to verify your identity with the help of the password and the additional verification code.
- Turn off auto-sync to iCloud
It is reported that a lot of personal pictures, leaked from celebrity phones, were originally stored on the Apple’s iCloud servers. With automatic syncing enabled, your photos will be stored directly on to the servers, and they will stay there even after you delete the photos from your phone. The same applies to notes, saved passwords, and other personal info. So, better disable the auto sync feature and set manual approval for data syncing.
¨ Android phones
Android is the top-used mobile OS across the globe, which can be your worst privacy nightmare if not used properly. Ranging from your contact to financial information, most of the people have almost everything in their Android phones now. Let’s see what you can do to protect your data:
- Wisely manage your apps
Apps do everything for you on your Android smartphones. However, we can call these apps the weakest link between the world and your private info. You can see many apps asking for permission to access your personal data to enhance user-experience. Unfortunately, not all apps use this solely for user experience enhancement. So, you need to manage better your apps by identifying what access they demand.
- Protect yourself while being online
In addition to managing apps from leaking your info, you should also minimize the exchange of personal data even when sharing innocuous images. Images too can reveal a lot of information about you through the attached exchangeable image file format (EXIF) data. For example, an image taken in a GPS-enabled camera phone can reveal your location, time taken, and the ID of your device, etc. You can use EXIF remover to prevent adding such personal data to images. Also have control on your web activities similar to that on a PC.
- Protect your communications
You have the option to encrypt SMS messages with the open-source TextSecure app that can encrypt the SMS stored locally. However, the recipient should have TextSecure installed to get the message decrypted. Similarly, you can get RedPhone app for free to protect your calls, which enables encrypted calls over the internet.
- Securing you phone
Locking the phone is easy, but it will not help when you want to hand over the unlocked device to someone by keeping something private. You can ideally use Lock Screen to lock your screen so that someone else cannot view anything other than what is displayed on the screen. You also have options to block task manager as well as USB connections.
¨ Windows phone
Windows Phone is already secured by design with many features activated by default. For example, all apps on the Windows Store are tested by Microsoft and encrypted to ensure there is no chance to install any malicious software on your phone. Some additional methods are:
- Set password
As in the case of other OS, you can prevent someone from using your Windows phone without your permission by setting a password. This can be configured as a numeric password or pattern making.
- Setting up a wallet PIN
Setting up a Wallet PIN ensures an additional layer of security along with a lock screen password. This PIN can also prevent any unwanted NFC payments.
- SIM PIN
There is also the option to set a PIN for your SIM card, which will prevent any third person from making any phone calls using your phone.
- Set up customized child access
It is a common case that children use their parents’ phones. You can activate Kid’s Corner at your Windows phone with which your child can still play their favorite games, access apps, and view videos, but cannot get the stuff you wanted to opt out.
- Back up your data
From Windows Phone 8.1 onwards, your phone can automatically save your settings, messages, photos and videos to the cloud so you can get the backup data if something happens to your phone.
These are some of the most effective tips for protecting your smartphone. There are, however, several advanced security features for you to adopt in case if you are a business user with many vital company info on your mobile. Prevention is better than cure. So, in any event, ensure that you handle your smartphone wisely.