We pick up our smartphones dozens of times a day to perform actions that range from looking at friend’s photos, paying bills, or checking our bank statements. But, we often do not think enough about the security of the information that we send. Developing good security habits can keep your information safe, and prevent costly and inconvenient data loss. A few things to keep in mind to keep your information secure:
- Keep your updates up to date.
Often, the reason for updates to your phone’s OS or to an application is that a security hole has been found and patched. Install new updates as soon as they become available to reduce the amount of exposure you have. You can set your phone to only do updates when you are connected to Wi-Fi if you are concerned about data usage.
- Review app permissions before you install.
When you install a new app on your phone, you are often asked to give it permission to perform certain tasks. These can include accessing your camera or microphone or reading your files. While there are legitimate reasons an app might need access, this also opens the door to abuse. Carefully review the permissions for any app requests, and never download apps from sources you are not familiar with.
- Be cautious about rooting your phone.
Some individuals choose to root or “jailbreak” their phones in order to customize their smartphone experience. While this can improve performance for some people, it is vital that you understand the additional risks you are introducing. Security experts do not recommend rooting phones unless you are completely familiar with the security settings you are changing, and the potential exposure you may introduce.
- Protect against physical access by thieves.
When many of us think about data security, we only think about virtual attacks. However, a thief who gets physical possession of your phone can also get access to sensitive data. Add a locking function to your phone so that you must enter a code to open it. Make sure that any apps that access sensitive data, such as banking or investing apps, are not set to automatically log in on your phone. Review how to lock your phone remotely, in case it is ever lost or stolen, so you can prevent thieves from using it to compromise your security.
Awareness of risks and how to mitigate them can keep your data safe no matter what device you choose. By adapting your habits to a security mindset, you can cut your risk while still enjoying the convenience your smartphone offers.