You may consider yourself to be independent, but if you think about it, your entire life revolves around your smartphone. You use it throughout the day to make your tasks (and life) easier, and it always serves the purpose that it is meant to. Life is good, indeed!
With a smartphone, however, come risks. It may be smart in all aspects, but may not be able to dodge a virus, or other security issues.
If only protecting a smartphone entailed something as simple as slipping it into a protective and durable phone case and carrying it along. While doing so will surely protect your phone physically, more needs to be done if you want to save it from falling prey to vicious virus attacks, malware, hackers and other dangerous evils of the virtual world.
What make our smartphones more susceptible are the various apps that we regularly download and use. That, however, does not imply that we stop using mobile applications altogether.
Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to ensure the safety of your smartphone even as you continue to use the apps. Mentioned ahead are a few of them.
Install an Antivirus App
This is one of the most obvious and easiest steps you can take to keep your phone protected. You probably already have one in place, but in case you don’t, make it a point to install it at the earliest.
There is a wide range of mobile security apps from reputed brands that you can choose from. Depending on the platform that your smartphone runs on, you can easily access the store to find hundreds of antivirus apps.
Some of the established names that you can download include McAfee, Symantec (Norton), Avast, AVG, Bitdefender, Webroot, Kaspersky, Sophos, and TrendMicro.
Turn Off Apps When Not In Use
By leaving certain apps on your device on, you can actually empower hackers enough to take charge of it. Apps such as Bluetooth, GPS (and other location-based services), and Wi-Fi should be turned off when not in use.
Leaving Bluetooth on at all times can result in it making your phone’s presence apparent, and the location services make it easy for others to know where you are, which may prove to be potentially dangerous.
Turing such apps off will not only conserve your phone’s battery life, it will also prevent hackers from accessing it and extracting your personal information from it.
Do Not Download Suspicious Apps
Smartphones are as effective as they are largely due to the apps downloaded to them. If you stop downloading apps, you’ll not be able to use your phone optimally. However, you need to exercise caution when deciding which apps to download.
Do not forget to check out the details of the developer of an app before downloading it. Install only legitimate apps by authentic developers. For example, if you’re downloading a mobile banking app, ensure that it is developed by the bank itself and not some other third party source.
Additionally, pay attention to app ratings and comments. Apps with no or low ratings should be avoided as they may not be genuine. Download only those which have received high ratings and several positive comments.
Pay Attention to App Permissions
When you download an app, a small window appears which contains a list of permissions to install it to your phone. Before you hit the ‘Install’ button, do spare a moment to check out how your smartphone’s content will be accessed by the app.
A few apps ask for access to your location, contact list, phone balance, and so on. If you’re uncomfortable sharing all this information, do not install the app.
Keep Your Phone Software Updated
Almost all smartphone apps alert you when an update is waiting in the pipeline. When you do get such a notification from an existing (and reliable) app, make sure you download and install it.
Phone manufacturers and platform-related online stores constantly churn out updates with bug fixes, enhancements, increased speed and reliability, and other new features which can make your device more secure.
Know Everything about Rooting Your Phone
A lot of smartphone users have taken to the practice of ‘rooting’ their phone. Rooting entails altering the file system to allow user access to read-only files and those parts of the operating system that the manufacturer would not want you to modify (for security reasons). While rooting has its advantages, it should always be done by an expert who is aware of the security risks as well.
Although rooting enables you to access system-level resources, it also exposes your phone to potential infections by malware. For example, applications which request root access could record keystrokes entered on an on-screen keyboard, delete or copy data, make phone calls to premium numbers or install ‘pseudo’ applications that look genuine, but aren’t.
Back Up Your Phone Data
Just like you back up your computer data, do the same for your phone’s data as well. This will be helpful if you ever end up losing your phone. Being smart about managing your data can make it a less harrowing experience.
Most modern smartphones allow users to ‘sync’ their information with a computer or a cloud service for productivity or backup purposes. This can be helpful in retrieving lost information. Also, a few modern security suites designed for mobile devices offer automatic backup facility to save you the trouble of doing so manually.
Using these resources to your advantage is a great way to safeguard your phone against data loss.
Whether you realize it or not, you do end up storing a lot of your personal information on your smartphone. It is important to keep that information and your phone’s operating system protected from undesirable elements. The good news is that there are a plethora of security measures available that can be used to keep your phone from becoming vulnerable. All the user has to do is take advantage of them and keep the above tips in mind to ward off malicious threats to their smartphone.