Cybersecurity 101: 6 essential tips to keep your smartphone secure

Nowadays, everyone’s life revolves around their smartphone. You use this device for almost everything, including mobile banking, ordering food, taking pictures and staying in touch with loved ones. While smartphones are convenient, they also pose risks, and with cybercrimes being so common, it’s vital to take the necessary steps to protect your data. 

Your information should only be accessible to the people you want to share it with – and safe from hackers with malicious intentions. The most important thing you should do to that end is to stay vigilant and follow some precautions.

Let’s take a look at what you can do to make your smartphone experience more secure.

Cybersecurity 101 - 6 essential tips to keep your smartphone secure
Cybersecurity 101 – 6 essential tips to keep your smartphone secure

Avoid suspicious links and apps

When it comes to digital life, common sense is critical. You should be extra cautious about suspicious emails, apps and websites. Looking out for anything suspicious may indeed be difficult when they are disguised as realistic—this is why you should avoid anything that seems too good to be true.

Suppose you get an email where you get asked for sensitive information or offered a loan without interest. In such a case, there’s no doubt what you received is a spam email, and by no means should you give any data. Moreover, you should avoid pirated software products and media, as they generally include malicious malware. 

Regularly update your apps and system in your smartphone

Updating your smartphone is critical for several reasons. It adds new features to your device and ensures you use the most secure iOS or Android operating system version. Operating system updates include vulnerabilities that malicious actors can exploit if left unattended.

The most efficient way to bring your system up to date in Android is to enable an auto-update option, which you can find in the Settings menu. Additionally, you can do the same for the apps if you have Google Play Store on your smartphone. Open its Settings, click on Auto-update apps and select one of the last two options. 

If you have an iOS, you can set up this option by opening the Settings menu. Click on General, then Software Update and select the Automatic Updates option. 

Use a secure network connection

Some free hotspots are often unprotected, and even those that require a password to connect don’t guarantee security – as opposed to the common belief. You should never use a public Wi-Fi network without protection. You transfer sensitive data over the Wi-Fi network daily, so it’s vital to ensure you’re doing it privately and safely. A VPN or a virtual private network can help you secure your Wi-Fi connection, masking the smartphone’s Internet protocol address and hiding the device’s identity and location.

A VPN connection ensures that sensitive information and documents and the activities you do online are protected from hackers. And this is vital considering the amount of personal data you manage with your smartphone. 

Install an antivirus in your smartphone

Although this idea originates in computers, it can also work on mobile devices. There are several security apps for iOS and Android, and you should use one to protect your smartphone. While some rumours have said security apps can affect how your device works, slowing it down, that’s far from the truth. Most security apps – the best ones – are unobtrusive and result in slowdowns when performing a deep scan on your device. However, they can ensure your smartphone is safe from malware and exploits when visiting suspicious websites or trying to download apps that could damage your device.

Malware is one of the most common factors that lead to data breaches, which is why keeping your device as secure as possible is essential. Even if you use such a security solution, you should still be careful with the websites you visit and the files you download, as antivirus software isn’t omnipotent. You may even still experience a data breach regardless of the security measures you use, and if that happens to you, it can impact your mental health and finances. However, it’s critical to know that you can make a data breach claim in the UK and receive compensation for the damage you’ve suffered. As for which software you should pick, you can never go wrong with the tried and tested options that work well for PC, such as Norton, Kaspersky or Bitdefender. They all have mobile-optimised versions customised for mobile systems and the threats that mobile apps pose.

Limit your personal information to specific apps

Apps collect significant data from your smartphone, including your location and contacts. You should delete apps you don’t use to reduce companies’ access to your data. Look through your apps and delete those you haven’t used in a while – especially those you’ve downloaded for specific events, like conferences or festivals. Also, you can manage which apps can access particular data on your phone via the settings menu on Android or iOS. If you have an iPhone, you can do this by going to the Settings menu and scrolling until you see the apps installed on your device. Clicking an app will show you what permissions it has – namely, what kind of information and parts of your device it can use. From there, you can enable or deny access. For instance, selecting Google Maps will display the permissions it requests, like microphone, cellular data and location.

The process works similarly on Android, although Google may give you a different impression. Go to the Settings menu, click Apps & notifications and select the Advanced option. Then click App permissions, and you’ll see a list of several permissions apps request access to. This may include data like contacts, call logs and location. Clicking each category allows you to see which apps can access that information and deny access if you want. 

Use a backup solution for your smartphone

A backup solution is critical to protect your data from theft or other damage that could affect your device and its information. Supposing your phone is stolen or lost, a backup solution allows you to keep your data safe. You’ll be able to wipe the data on your smartphone as you have a secure copy of it stored in the cloud.

Both Android and iPhone systems provide straightforward options to back up your phone frequently.

Marie Foster
Marie Foster
Marie Foster covers Business News at OSN.