In our busy lives today, we sometimes forget to handle our privacy-sensitive files on our phones with care. Back in the day, we only encounter cases like scammers voice calling us, which makes us find out who they are using sites, now, that’s just not the case.
And you probably also regularly blame yourself for it. This unknowingly makes us an easy target for hackers and thieves. Do you want to secure your smartphone and ensure that criminals do not get a chance? These smart tips will help you secure your phone from hacking.
1. Install all updates
Very important to keep your phone safe is to install timely updates for your software and apps. As soon as your phone or apps indicate that a software update is ready, we recommend that you install it immediately. Did you know that you can have your phone automatically update apps in the background as soon as you’re on WiFi? With Android, this can be done via the Play Store app: press the three dashes at the top left, go to settings, and press ‘Automatically update apps’ and ‘Automatically update apps only via WiFi’. If you have iOS, you can do this via ‘Settings’. Then go to ‘iTunes Store & App Store’ and slide the slider under ‘Updates’ to the right. Also, slide the slider ‘Use mobile data’ to the right.
2. Pay attention to what an app asks permission for
When downloading an app, it is wise to pay close attention to what exactly it asks permission for. You often get the option to refuse to share your personal data, such as your contact list, photos, or Facebook profile. So always think carefully about whether you want this before you agree to this. The companies behind these apps can also store your data and if you give permission for it, even use it for other purposes, such as placing contributions on your social media accounts without you even realizing it.
3. Set up Find My iPhone or Android Device Manager
Your smartphone stolen or lost? Then it can sometimes come in handy if you have a tracking app on your device with which you detect, control, and block the device. With an iPhone, we recommend that you download ‘Find My iPhone’ (part of iCloud) and go with an Android smartphone for Android Device Manager (via your Google account). Do you have a Windows Phone? Then we advise you to use the ‘Find My Phone’ app to protect your phone against theft. With all these apps, the location of your device is determined on the basis of GPS. This increases the chances of getting your missing smartphone back.
4. Put your passwords in a vault
Using the same password everywhere or writing them on a note is risky. But remembering all those countless passwords? That’s almost impossible. To ensure that you can use a unique and strong password everywhere, it is responsible to store your passwords in an app that securely manages all your passwords. Apps like Keeper, 1Password, and LastPass are examples of these types of apps. That way you only have to remember one password. That has to work, right?
5. Set up two-step verification for apps
An extra measure to make your phone even more secure is two-step verification. With this extra security check, hackers and thieves don’t just need your password to gain access to your apps. Fortunately, more and more apps and services (for example Google and WhatsApp) also have this extra security option themselves. You perform two steps with two-step verification: first, you log in and then the app sends a unique security code to you by SMS. Only after you have filled it in will you get access to the app.
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6. Beware of public WiFi networks
Do you regularly sit on the public WiFi of your favorite café? Or do you always check your missed messages on the airport’s public WiFi? Then be very careful what you do. Public Wi-Fi networks, and therefore also the actions you perform, are easy to hack. Internet banking, reading your e-mail, or opening other privacy-sensitive documents if you are on a public network is therefore not recommended. Switching to 4G or waiting until a later moment is the smartest choice.
7. Back up your smartphone
Lose your precious photos, videos, files, and settings if your phone is unexpectedly infected with a virus or is stolen? You shouldn’t think about it. That’s why it’s important to back up your important files regularly (for example, weekly). Do you have an iPhone? The easiest way to make a backup is via iCloud. You can set this to happen automatically every day so that you never lose data. Do you have an Android device? Then backing up via your Google account is the most convenient. Your data will then be stored in Google Drive.
8. Set a good PIN for your SIM card
Is the PIN code of your SIM card still 0000 or 1234? It’s high time for a change! Change your PIN to a hard-to-guess password to prevent criminals from fraud with your SIM card without difficulty in the event of theft. You are further away from home if they put the SIM card in another phone and call expensive premium rate numbers or numbers from abroad. Because of course, you are not waiting for sky-high bills. If your SIM card has been stolen, this is annoying enough.
9. Lock your device with an iris scanner, fingerprint scanner, and code
Of course, you are not waiting for everyone, including scammers, to be able to access all your photos, contacts, or messages without being asked. It goes without saying, but we don’t all do it: protect the smartphone with a code. It is even safer to combine this with a fingerprint scan, face scan, or iris scan. So you don’t have a code yet? Start securing your smartphone today and set one up through your phone’s settings. Make the code as difficult as possible to hack. Codes like 1234 and your date of birth are too obvious.
10. Only download apps from the official store
Finally, it’s important to only download apps from your phone’s official store. Apps in the App Store (iOS), Google Play (Android) or Windows Store (Microsoft Windows) have been checked. If you download an unchecked app from the internet, it is uncertain whether you will get malware and viruses that hackers can use to penetrate your phone.
In addition to the above tips, it is of course always important to think carefully about what you do with your smartphone. Securing your phone against hacking, eavesdropping and theft starts with you. Don’t leave your phone swaying, don’t just put it in an unfamiliar charger on public property, and don’t forget how privacy-sensitive your data is.