People these days are always connected via their smartphone.
Whether it’s a student headed for his or her next class, a busy mom on her way to a supermarket, a freelancer at a cafe e-meeting a client, or a businessman transacting business online, everyone seems to be on the internet for something.
However, the convenience brought by smartphones also comes with some drawbacks, one of which is data loss or theft. Since you carry your mobile phone all of the time, you can easily lose important information. To protect phone data and prevent data breaches and loss from happening, here’s what you can do:
1. Avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi
Free doesn’t always mean good. You may be able to reduce your data plan costs by connecting to free public Wi-Fi but it isn’t worth the risk of losing your data. Tapping into an unsecured network makes it easy for hackers to seize and capture your personal information.
It’s generally not too bad to use public Wi-Fi as long as it’s for web searches, and you’re not entering any passwords and personal information like your credit card number. If you have to access your email, switch to your data plan connection for a secure, and more private connection.
Another way to help protect your phone data is to use a virtual private network (VPN). This is a software which encrypts your wireless session when using a public network. It’s actually much safer than connecting to a public Wi-Fi network with a password.
Make VPN use a habit especially when accessing sensitive information.
2. Set a screen lock password
By setting up a password security on your mobile phone, only you will have restricted access to your device. This way, you can prevent your data from being stolen as it can result in huge financial costs. The following are the different ways you can protect your phone data:
- Pattern lock – This is a personalized pattern drawn on a smartphone screen to get access. It provides less hassle and is faster than manually entering a password.
- PIN code – This is a numeric alternative to a typical password which can also save you time. Just make sure that you set up a password that is not easy to guess such as 1234 or your birth date.
A screen lock may help secure your phone but it won’t stop someone from removing your SIM and using it on another device. Also set up a SIM card lock that prompts for a password when your phone is turned on for added security.
3. Steer clear of smishing
Smishing is one of the most effective ways for a thief to hack your mobile device.
By sending a suspicious SMS and if the user responds to the message or clicks on a link, hackers can install malware that can steal users’ personal data.
4. Wipe out all data
If you lose your phone, you can wipe out all personal data before the thieves can access it. However, before you do so, make sure you have a regular backup at all times.
- For Android users – Google Sync, as well as Google Apps Device Policy can wipe out data remotely.
- For iPhone users – Find My iPhone can erase all phone data.
Make sure to activate Android Device Manager or Find My iPhone app so that you can track your smartphone’s location and completely delete all data. If you’re planning to sell your old phone, make sure to reset it to factory settings and remove extra storage cards and SIM cards.
5. Exercise caution when downloading apps and logging into websites
When downloading apps especially for Android OS, pay attention to the software requirements upon installation. This will ensure that only realistic demands are being made to access various features of your phone. As much as possible, it’s safer to download from secure channels like Google Play Store.
Don’t save personal details and passwords when you log into a website especially when it comes to merchants and online banks. It may be convenient, but it also makes it easier for hackers to steal your information. Also, don’t ignore security warnings displayed when you view a website.
For web pages that require the entry of sensitive data, encrypted protocols should be present to protect your information. You can see that a website is encrypted in the form of an “s” found at the end of “http” or through a visible padlock icon on the status bar of a browser.
Don’t become a victim of data theft
Malicious users, thieves, and hackers usually target individuals who offer an easy way for them to attain their goals.
Take into account the 5 ways above and avail of phone services that offer added security to ensure that your personal data doesn’t become an easy target.
When security measures are in place, you can have peace of mind knowing that even if your phone gets stolen, your personal information will remain safe.
Al-moottil P Antony is a C-Suite Executive Support Professional for Zain, a leading mobile and data services operator with a commercial footprint in 8 Middle Eastern and African countries.