Your phone is one of the most important gadgets you own. You can use it to do your banking, reach out to your loved ones, get updates from social media, and send and receive payments online. Hackers and malicious individuals are now well aware of all the personal information your smartphone holds and can’t wait to get it off your hands.
One study done by Checkpoint in 2019 noted an increase in the number of malware attacks against mobile devices. A thief could also steal your phone and hard reset it so they can sell it to the next unsuspecting customer, meaning you could lose all your data. Frankly, you are not immune to hacking attempts, but you can stay vigilant. Here are 10 ways to protect your phone from hackers.
Keep your phone locked and hard to intrude
The most effective way to make your smartphone hack-proof is to set robust passcodes with numbers, letters, and symbols. You could also take the security up a notch by adding facial recognition and setting up your fingerprint to unlock your phone. Even though these methods are less than perfect, you are better off having them in your arsenal. Lastly, it would be wise to avoid smart unlock features that automatically unlock your phone with little effort, leaving it vulnerable to attacks from hackers.
Keep your phone and apps updated
Another important tip that most people tend to ignore is keeping their smartphones up to date. Many hackers take advantage of the loopholes and vulnerabilities in your software, which are easy to bypass. These hackers also know that you are adamant about installing the updates because it is a tedious process, and you might not like the minor changes to the interface. Therefore, we urge you to update the software once you get the notification to stay one step ahead of these hackers.
Beware of auto-logins
Remembering passwords and typing on the keyboard can become tedious after some time. Auto-login became this heaven-sent feature that remembers all your passwords and automatically logs you into your email or any other online services without much hassle.
On the flip side, hackers are having a blast knowing they can use this feature against you and access your sensitive information. You could make things harder for these hackers by avoiding auto-login features on all your devices. Another alternative would be to use a password manager.
Think before you install anything
Most applications usually ask you to grant them permission to read files and use your camera or microphone. While these apps might have a legitimate reason for requiring these permissions, there is a chance a hacker might abuse them. It is also important to keep in mind that Google isn’t as stringent in vetting apps as Apple, making Android users more susceptible to hacking attempts when installing apps from the Play Store. Therefore, it would help to be cautious when installing anything on your phone, even though it is from the Play Store.
Lock important apps
Suppose a stranger approaches you on the street and asks you to use your phone to call a loved one. You innocently hand them your phone, only for them to run away as quickly as possible. They now have your unlocked phone, which gives them unlimited access to any application they want.
You could still protect your device from hacking attempts in such a scenario by locking individual apps like your email or banking app. Even if someone manages to bypass your robust password, they will quickly realize they have numerous firewalls to maneuver before accessing your sensitive information.
In case you notice a breach, seek professional help to avoid losing your sensitive data and even suffering monetary loss. For example, if you lose your social media account access or you notice suspicious activity on your social media apps, then you should search for hackers for hire to help recover the access. Remember to always use two-factor authentication to protect access to your critical apps on your phone.
Avoid open WIFI networks
We understand you might be excited about using an open WIFI network. You don’t need to consume your own data to browse the Internet or watch your favorite TikToks. However, connecting to these networks exposes your phone to many cybersecurity risks.
An attacker might take advantage of the weak security measures on the network to infiltrate your phone. Therefore, avoid open WIFI networks, especially if you are accessing sensitive information. For example, if you are accessing your banking app or portal, you are better off doing so on a secure home network.
Set up a notification in case a pickpocket strikes
Imagine a scenario where you are walking in a sea of crowded people, each hurrying to get to their destination. A pickpocket could easily steal your phone without you realizing it is gone. Once you realize you don’t have your phone, it is probably too late to catch the thief. You could invest in a wearable device like Apple Watch or Android Wear that alerts you once your device disconnects or goes beyond a certain radius.
Plan ahead for theft or loss
We don’t know what the future holds. Your phone could be stolen tomorrow before you can secure your data. Therefore, the right thing to do would be to plan ahead. Android and IOS devices have a feature that lets you find your phone anywhere in case it gets stolen. You could also set your phone to automatically lock and erase all data if someone tries to unlock it.
Review your existing apps
Perhaps the apps you already installed on your phone seemed harmless at first. However, there is a chance some updates over time could pose a risk to you. It wouldn’t hurt to peruse through your phone and see what permissions your existing apps are using and whether there should be a cause for alarm.
Since it is harder to determine your apps’ permissions on an Android, you could get a security app that gives you a detailed breakdown of all the apps and their permissions.
Hide your lock screen notifications
You might think the notifications that pop up on your screen when it is locked are pretty harmless. However, these notifications might make your phone seem even more interesting to a hacker. For instance, you might forget to swipe a notification that indicates you recently transacted a huge sum to a bank. Therefore, it would help to change the settings to prevent notifications from popping up when your phone is locked.
As the saying goes, prevention is better than cure. Cybercrime targeting phones is one the rise and the best way to protect your phone is to stay proactive. Try to put yourself several steps ahead of the hackers by implementing some of the best cybersecurity best practices for phones.