If you’re like most people, you use your smartphone for pretty much everything. You pay your bills electronically, pay for your online purchases, answer emails, and use social media to stay in touch with friends.
This means that your phone contains a lot of personal and sensitive information about you. What, if anything, are you doing to protect it?
Cybersecurity threats lurk around every corner, so you must protect your phone against them. Here are the essential tips to keep your data safe and secure.
Install Only Official Apps
It may be tempting to install an app from an authorized source, but it’s not very wise. It may contain spyware that steals your personal and sensitive data without you even knowing it.
Always install apps only from official, trusted sources like Google App and App Store. No third-party app is worth compromising your privacy.
Utilize a Password Manager
You know that you must have strong passwords for every single account you use. More importantly, you should never use the same password twice. These are the golden rules for keeping your privacy intact.
But using a password manager will add an extra layer of security to your phone. It will provide you with a random master password for accessing all your accounts, and it will regularly change it.
If anyone ever cracks it, the tool will instantly generate a new password and change passwords for all your connected accounts. It will continue doing so until the cybercriminals give up.
Use Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)
Two-factor authentication is another extra layer of security you should take advantage of. You may already be using it for some apps. That’s the code you receive via SMS to log into an account.
This extra step will turn away lots of potential hackers because they need to get their hands on your phone to access the code. They could use a phishing attack to try and access the 2FA tokens on your phone, but that’s simply too much work. Most of them give up and look for easier targets.
Almost all apps and websites now enable you to set up 2FA in their advanced security settings, so be sure to do it.
Beware of Phishing Scams
Phishing is one of the most common cybersecurity threats. It’s when a hacker poses as someone trustworthy in a fraudulent attempt to obtain your sensitive information, such as usernames, passwords, and credit card details.
They could target you via email, SMS, social media, quizzes, and pop-ups, prompting you to click on a link, usually to receive a gift out of nowhere or anything else compelling. Those links secretly install malware on your phone and start recording keystrokes to uncover your usernames, passwords, and credit card information.
It’s paramount you don’t click on any suspicious links. Phishing URLs usually contain grammar or spelling mistakes, so it’s easy to catch them. Triple-check before clicking on anything.
A few tips to keep in mind:
- Never open emails from someone you don’t know
- Check links even in emails from friends – they too could fall prey to phishing attacks!
- Hover over every link to check where it leads to
- Check the links for spelling and grammar mistakes
- Conduct a Google search to ensure the URLs are legit
Never Use Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi can be very convenient, but it’s not at all secure. It’s not encrypted, so it’s a potential goldmine for hackers. Avoid it at all costs.
While traveling, remember it’s better to use data roaming than risk a data breach because you connected to an unsecured network.
Consider Changing Your Browser
You can always browse in incognito mode, so that your browser doesn’t store any cookies, create web caches of temporary internet files, or allow pop-ups.
However, this tactic is effective only if you follow all these other tips too.
But browsers such as Tor or DuckDuckGo will keep your privacy intact. They don’t store any cookies, personal information, or online activity. They don’t allow pop-ups and ads, and they never track users.
With their encryption protocols and IP masking, your personal and sensitive data will remain safe and secure.
Use a VPN
A VPN (Virtual Private Network) will keep your data even safer. Using a VPN is the best way to protect your phone against cybersecurity threats.
It will encrypt your data and internet connection, even over public Wi-Fi, preventing anyone from tracking you. It will mask your IP address, hiding it even from your ISP, so hackers targeting your ISP can never access your data.
With a VPN, you will be entirely anonymous online and fully protect your privacy.
Be smarter than cybercriminals, and don’t let them exploit your personal and sensitive information for their criminal gain. Start following all these tips today, and you’ll successfully avoid the common pitfalls of cybersecurity.