8 Tips on Securing Your Smartphone

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Did you know that over 8% of laptop and desktop users have security software installed on their computers, but only 20% of smartphone users do? Why is that? Discrepancies like that make smartphones a thief’s goldmine- full of unencrypted personal information and ripe for the picking. Here are some tips on how to protect yourself.

Record your phone’s identity number – The International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) is what identifies your phone to the network. It is located on the back of your phone underneath the battery. Make sure you keep this information so that you can report it to the police if your phone is stolen or lost.

Be careful when charging your phone at a charge point – Be very cautious if you desperately need to charge your phone while out and about. A lot of phones combine a data connection with the charger so you could end up having your data stolen without even knowing it. And who is providing the service? If you happen to use someone else’s computer, make sure you trust them.

Lock your phone and voicemail – PINs and passwords can be a pain as they put a barrier in the way of things you do repeatedly, however they are necessary. Don’t choose obvious PINs: for example, 3333, 1234, dates of birth and so on. Make use of the handset locks to protect your data and the voicemail code to protect your messages.

Always backup your data – Take a little time to think about what would happen if you lost your phone, phone numbers and photographs and how it would affect you. Take a few minutes to make a backup in a secure location. You won’t regret it.

Learn how to remotely lock and/or wipe your phone – Many handsets are now capable of apps which allow you to stop someone getting access to your data and, if you’re sure you can’t get it back, to delete your data. Some services can even help you locate your lost phone by using the GPS function of the device to find out where it is.

Be careful when clicking on links and scanning barcodes – Don’t be lured into clicking on a mysterious link to a web page. A phone’s screen is much smaller and it is often more difficult to see a full link to a website and make sure that it is what it says it is. If in doubt, don’t click. New technology allows barcode scanner apps to read Quick Response (QR) codes (they look kind of like square barcodes). These are often put in newspapers and on advertising boards. Do you know and trust the source? If not, don’t scan the barcode.

Be wary of Wi-Fi – However attractive it may seem to connect to free Wi-Fi when you’re out and about, take a second to consider who is providing that service and why. By connecting to an untrustworthy network, you could possibly allow an attacker to get into your accounts for social networking sites, your email and even your bank account.

Know what you are giving apps permission to do – Always think about what an application is supposed to be doing, where it came from, and who made it. Read the permissions that an app demands before agreeing. A common trick hackers use is to create a fake copy of a real app and host it on an alternative, unmonitored app store. Don’t fall for their tricks.

There you have it; eight ways to keep your phone and data safe. Don’t be foolish. Take some precautions. After all, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Make sure that you keep your smartphone somewhere safe. Never leave smartphones in your car or unattended. By reducing the opportunities a thief has to get to your phone, you reduce the risk of your phone being stolen or illegally used.

+Kerry Tiwana is a full time tech savvy blogger, author and founder of TechMafia, you can follow him on Facebook.

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