There was a time when smartphone hacking was a nuisance reserved for government officials and celebrities in the public eye. But over the past year, hackers have refined their collective approach and now anyone is game — including you and me. And if you aren’t cautious, you could end up becoming the next victim of smartphone-based cyber attack.
Tips to Protect Your Phone
Your smartphone is your single most important digital asset. It carries more information about you than any other device. It’s basically a DNA snapshot of who you are. And if you aren’t careful, hungry hackers could compromise your phone and run off with confidential information.
Want to prevent hackers from successfully stealing your private information? You’ll need to go on the offensive. Here are a few suggestions:
Learn how to lock or wipe your phone remotely in case of emergency.
Worst case scenario—your phone is gone. Really gone. Either it’s hopelessly lost or got stolen. What now? Lock it remotely or even wipe its data entirely. While that last bit about wiping the phone seems like a drastic move, if you maintain regular backups as mentioned above, your data is secure in the cloud—ready for you to restore. In all, this means that hackers won’t be able to access you, or your company’s, sensitive information—which can keep you out of trouble and your professional business safe.
Become More Vigilant
Unfortunately, we are pretty familiar with terms like virus and incubation period these days. And as you know, you don’t always experience symptoms of a virus immediately after exposure. In fact, it often takes days. And this is true with cyber attacks and digital viruses, too.
“Malware and computer viruses also possess incubation periods,” Mission Secure points out. “And during this unprecedented time of working from home and within an escalating cyber threat environment, these measures underscore the importance of remaining cyber vigilant.”
If you want to stay protected, you need to prioritize cyber vigilance. This means understanding the signs that you’ve been compromised, so that you can begin addressing the problem as soon as possible. Possible symptoms include:
- You notice apps that are opening on their own.
- Your battery is draining at a much faster rate than normal.
- There are unusual charges on your phone bill.
- You notice apps on your homescreen that you haven’t personally installed.
- Mobile phone attacks are constantly evolving, so the signs and symptoms of these attacks will continue to change. However, the more vigilant you are, the more prepared you’ll be to respond with a high level of efficiency.
Be Careful With Installations
Apps are great, but they also serve as potential inroads for hackers who want to gain access to your device and the data stored on it.
“When you install a smartphone app, you may be asked to grant it various permissions, including the ability to read your files, access your camera or listen in to your microphone. There are legitimate uses for these capabilities, but they’re potentially open to abuse: think before you approve the request,” The Guardian explains.
This is especially important for Android users. Google’s vetting process for apps isn’t nearly as strict as Apple’s. (They also allow you to install apps from third-party sources, which Apple does not permit.)
Implement Basic Phone Security
While there are certainly some high-level ways to protect your phone from being compromised, it all begins with observing basic phone security tips such as these:
Change your phone’s default passcode and avoid using predictable patterns (like directional patterns or all one number).
Never leave your phone unattended.
Implement biometric access options whenever possible. (Fingerprints are good, but facial recognition is better.)
Implement secure settings when it comes to Bluetooth and WiFi. Avoid settings that would allow your device to automatically connect to networks or other devices without your permission.
Never store credit card data or PIN information on your device.
Even if you do nothing else, following these tips will significantly lessen your chances of being compromised. Implement them into your daily routines and habits and you’ll be far ahead of your peers.
Keep Hackers at Arm’s Length
It’s no longer a question of if you’ll be targeted by hackers; it’s simply when. And when they do attack, you must be prepared in such a way that you don’t give them an inch. Because once a hacker is given ground, they’ll find a way to leverage what you’ve unintentionally allowed them to access in the first place to compromise more of your data.
Now’s the time to set up your defenses and strengthen your position. An investment in the proper defenses today will serve you well moving forward. Hopefully this article gives you some simple yet effective ways to begin.
Be Prepared to Track and Lock
The hope is that you’ll never have to deal with a hack of your smartphone. However, you need to operate under the assumption that you will. This means turning on all tracking and locking options and doing a “test run” so that you know what to do if you suspect your phone is compromised.