With over 10 billion smartphone and smart device users worldwide, the phone security is more important than ever. Social media, online banking, email, and the Cloud have made accessing our information easier than ever before, but not just for us. Hackers are targeting smart devices in order to obtain our most sensitive data.
To clarify, know what you can do to determine if you've been hacked. Also, learn how to keep your phone secure and your information safe from hackers.
Signs You've Been Hacked
While it's important to ensure adequate security on all your devices to prevent getting hacked. To clarify, it is just as important to recognize if it's already happened. Here are some red flags that could signify a security threat:
- Applications opening independently
- Battery running down more quickly
- Unexplained changes to your bill
- Receiving a change password notification that you didn't request
To prevent someone from accessing your data directly or remotely, implement these practices to secure your device and personal information.
Tips for Smartphone Security
(Physically Protect Your Phone)
Furthermore, one of the easiest ways to safeguard your information is to keep your phone out of the wrong hands. Here are a few recommendations on how to store your devices:
1. Keep your phone in a safe place. If it's not on your person, make sure it's not accessible by someone else. Placing your phone on the counter at check-out, on the edge of a cafe table, or even on your work desk puts you at risk of someone stealing your device along with all of its contents.
2. Utilize password protection. If your phone becomes stolen, the last thing you want to do is make it easy for the culprit to gain access to your information. All phones come with some sort of password protection capability.
These can include numeric passwords, patterns, or even face and voice recognition. Make sure to set up this security feature as soon as you set up your device and always lock your phone when it's not in use.
3. Track your phone's location. If you lose your device or stolen, you can greatly benefit from a GPS tracker to determine its whereabouts. Using an app like Find My can help you locate your phone as well as erase all data remotely. If apps aren't your thing, Google's Find My Device performs the same functions online for Android users.
Tips for Smartphone Security
(Technologically Protect Your Phone)
While it's easy to focus on making sure no one physically steals your device. It is also imperative to protect your information from getting hacked remotely. Here are some simple and free ways to protect your data:
1. Stay up-to-date on operating system updates. Remaining current with OS updates ensures that your device contains the latest protections against leaks that hackers may have discovered. Most devices automatically notify you when a system update is available. All you have to do is restart your device.
Also, be sure to read the description of the app before you download. If it requires linking to other applications that contain your personal information, don't download it.
3. Never open suspicious text messages or emails. Texting and emailing is an easy way for hackers to infect your device with malware and obtain your data. If you receive a message from a stranger or something seems off, don't click on anything in the message and erase it immediately. You should never download any apps via text or email messages.
4. Be cautious of free WiFi. While free WiFi is enticing, it's important to make sure you're on a secure network. A hacker can set up a personal "hot spot" in a public area and gain access to anyone's information that joins their network.
It's a good idea to verify the network name with the business offering the free WiFi. To be better safe than sorry, avoid free WiFi if possible.
Keeping your information safe is something a lot of us don't think about until it's too late. With so much of our lives being conducted electronically, you can never be too careful with your devices.