Protect your smartphone from being hacked
For many smartphone users, their smartphones are never too far out of reach. It is a reflection of the role these devices now play in everyday life as well as the amount of sensitive information contained within them.
The treasure trove of personal information, including banking info, personal emails and private photos, that smartphones contain makes them tempting targets for skilled cyber criminals. Though phones come with built-in security features, savvy smartphone users recognize the importance of going beyond such features to protect their devices from hackers.
• Update your operating system. It can be a nuisance to update a phone’s operating system. In fact, many smartphone users have regretted an OS update, feeling the updates changed the look and performance of apps they had grown accustomed to. However, updated operating systems are offered for various reasons, one of which is to guard against glitches or bugs in old operating systems that might have made phones more vulnerable to hackers. When prompted to update a smartphone’s operating system, do so right away.
• Avoid public WiFi. Hackers target victims in many ways, including through public WiFi hotspots. Smartphone users who don’t have unlimited data plans may be tempted to use public WiFi when out and about. But doing so makes users vulnerable to skilled hackers who are just waiting to access unknowing users’ personal information, including their financial data. When leaving the house, turn off the WiFi on your phone, only turning it back on when you need it and only if you can access a secure network.
• Accept two-factor authentication. Two-factor authentication was designed so internet users would have another layer of protection against hackers. When attempting to sign into an account, whether it’s email, social media, banking or another login that requires a username and password, you may be asked if you want to enroll in two-factor authentication. This refers to the system in which users receive a temporary code via the messaging apps on their phones that only the users have access to. Some might say two-factor authentication is a nuisance, but receiving and typing in the short code will only take an extra few seconds and it’s a great extra measure of protection against hackers.
When purchasing and downloading apps, only use official app stores such as the Apple Store or Google Play. Some hackers access phones via apps they offer through websites that, on the surface, seem legitimate. However, such apps contain viruses and malware that make it easy for hackers to access phones once they’ve been installed.
Smartphone users must recognize the importance of protecting their phones, and all the sensitive information their phones contain, from hackers.