A number of your everyday activities such as surfing the web, booking appointments, setting reminders, video calling, mobile banking, and taking pictures mean a lot of data is stored on your mobile device, some of which is quite sensitive. Now, that is information you definitely don’t want just anybody to have access to. A good example is your financial information.
Your sensitive data makes your phone vulnerable to online threats like malware through viruses, hacking into private, personal details, and what-have-yous. Besides, the information contained in a person’s phone history and other contacts stored on a mobile phone make it a perfect target for physical attack especially because it is portable.
You don’t want to lose your mobile device and all that sensitive data on your phone? Of course, you don’t. Read on to discover some very useful tips that will help you protect your phone and avoid data loss.
10 Best Ways to Protect Your Data
Set up strong security measures for unlocking your phone
Here is the very first step to protecting your sensitive data. You must secure the first point of access to your phone. Fingerprint identification, face unlock, pin, or password are options that come with mobile phones these days. While fingerprint identification and face unlock are easily the most secure methods, a solid alpha-numeric password with special characters like an asterisk could also be very effective for securing your phone.
Set up strong security measures for all your mobile applications
Now, you have the first point of entry to secure your phone. The next thing to pay attention to is the security of your mobile applications. You should do so for applications where you can set up a password or other means of security, like a fingerprint identification system. This will significantly help you reduce the risk of losing important information.
Your passwords should be at least 8 characters long. No matter how complex you think your password is, never give in to the temptation of allowing sites you cannot trust to “remember me”. This automatically sets you up for potential scamming.
After securing as many mobile applications as possible with the practical steps highlighted above, activate two-factor authentication for all your social media accounts and other virtual accounts where possible. You will receive a text message, e-mail, or link to a contact you must have previously provided to verify that it is truly you who is logging in. This is how two-factor authentication works.
Potential scammers cannot easily access personal details once you do this. This will also prevent someone else from posing as you and getting sensitive information about you to your detriment.
Be careful what and where you download
You must download mobile applications from verified stores that you can trust. Pay careful attention to the sites you download from. If you are unsure about the safety or authenticity of a site, it is best to simply avoid it altogether. Hackers tend to use these malicious sites as a backdoor to a person’s mobile device and expose sensitive information about unsuspecting users.
Install an antivirus
Although different, this is something like two-factor authentication. An antivirus protects your data from malware. Just in case you have downloaded a virus as part of an application you installed or some malware from a website, an antivirus will prevent the malware or virus from running its due course. This means the virus will be stopped from working on your device.
There is a tricky side to this. Since we live in an internet age and it is important to install an antivirus, be careful not to download malware that appears as an antivirus. Confirm the authenticity of the software before you download it. Be wary of free antivirus packages. Although not all free antivirus packages are malicious, they may not be as effective as paid packages. Either way, be sure of what you are downloading. It is better to be safe than sorry.
Do not connect to unprotected networks
If you must use a public network, ensure it is protected. Most public networks are open and are not encrypted. With open networks, it is even easier for cybercriminals to access network traffic and retrieve passwords, usernames, and other sensitive information.
Another way to protect against Wi-Fi hacking is to use applications that let you know the status of the Wi-Fi you are connected to. Generally, WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) offers better protection than WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy). Keep your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connections turned off when not in use. This will serve as extra protection to prevent insecure connections you might not be aware of.
Do not give out sensitive information to suspicious persons
As you discover ways to protect sensitive data from phone scammers, add this tip. Never disclose sensitive information like passwords, bank pins, and so on to untrusted persons. Either over a call or via chat, don’t do it.
If a person calls and claims to be a customer care representative or bank official with the bank you have an account with, that is a blood-red flag. Anyone working in the bank should already be privy to such sensitive information and doesn’t need to ask. Stay alert!
If for any reason, you are not sure about the supposed bank representative calling you to ask for sensitive information, hang up the call. You can look up the number on PhoneHistory to know if the caller is a scammer.
Learn how to report phone scams
You can call the bank’s official direct customer care line to verify any call you “supposedly” received from the bank. Once you call the bank and discover it was a scam, report it to the Federal Trade Commission and relay as many details as you can accurately remember. If the call was via a social media application, you can click the report button to report the number.
Regularly backup your data
No matter how careful you are, you are still at risk of losing your data. You should make provisions for even the slightest chance that you might lose your data. In that case, backups should be a regular thing. Automated backups are also an option if you think manual backups are just too stressful. You can easily set the backups to run for hours when you are not actively using your phone. Try backing up that data to another source like Google Drive, iCloud, OneDrive, or any other trusted platform.
Use the latest software update
Whenever there is a software or application update, it is in your best interest to update your version of the app or software. Manufacturers of mobile applications and software are aware of possible security breaches and usually work on preventive methods with every update provided.
In case of theft, set up a “track your phone” system so that you can easily find your phone afterward. You can also set up your phone to block access to all your social media accounts and other sensitive information when stolen.
Note: If passwords are your preferred option for protecting sensitive data, don’t use the same password for all your log-ins. Change your passwords regularly – about every 3 to 6 months.
Setting up security on your phone might be quite challenging. Nonetheless, it should be your priority. Protecting your data more than compensates for how much you will lose to phone scammers.