If you want to secure your smartphone you’re going to have to do a bit more than ask your little sister to not play with it. The digital age has brought with it all kinds of problems, one of the most immediate is how lackadaisical most people are with their mobile security, with smartphones being the number one culprit.
Read on if you want to secure your smartphone, from the iPhone, to Nokia, Sony, Nexus, and Samsung.
How to secure your smartphone in 7 easy steps
1. Use the lock code screen
This is a freebie, and you have to use it. Your phone is full of personal information like:
- Pictures (yes, those types)
- Personal notes
If you plan on taking your smartphone out of your home, or anywhere near your parents, siblings, partners, children, or other people, you need to use the lock screen. The most common is a four digit pin code, but some others will let you use letters, characters, patterns you draw, and thumbprint recognition.
If you don’t follow this first piece of advice, please don’t bother with the rest as you’re not at all serious about trying to secure your smartphone. If anyone can get on it you will never be secure.
2. Turn on the ‘Do Not Track’ feature on your mobile browser
This is one of those ‘well, it would be nice if they did what you asked’ scenarios. You can set up your browser in Google Chrome, and iOS to keep websites from tracking you and displaying ads to you. This keeps them from gathering data about you, and we all know that data is power.
The problem is that some websites seem to think it’s optional to listen to what you want. So at the end of the day this is a better than nothing situation. You’ll find a back up solution in step 5!
3. Block your phone number when calling a business
You likely haven’t thought about this, but businesses can collect your phone number, and any information attached to it (see the point above), and sell it to advertisers. If turning the blocking on and off is a problem, Google Voice is available to Android users to call businesses and block your number.
4. Do not respond to spam texts, or answer spam calls
Step one for most telemarketers these days is to call up a number just to see if a person will answer it. When you answer a number that looks weird for your area you’re practically asking telemarketers to call you more often, send you messages, and try to contact you via other apps.
This can be a major problem for those who don’t have unlimited plans, or pay as you go. For this without unlimited plans, you may have to pay for texts you never wanted in the first place. For pay as you go plans, you may wind up having your airtime stolen! This happened to my girlfriend after she responded to a spam text as it put a virus on her iPhone which stole the data she paid for.
5. Use a
VPN whenever you connect to public WiFi
The most important time to secure your smartphone is when it is at its most vulnerable, and that is when it is connected to public WiFi. There are Fake WAP attacks to look out for, random snoopers, and your privacy is likely at around zero.
6. Use a recovery app to locate a lost smartphone
There are recovery apps for both Android and iOS that will help you when you set your smartphone down in another room and forget it, or when you leave it at the office. In the first instance it will set off a siren so you can find it in your home. In the second it will use GPS to show you where in the world your smartphone is.
When you discover that your phone is somewhere it shouldn’t be, due to theft, you can lock it down, or even remote wipe it. There are some great security apps with recovery features listed in this article.
7. Add your owner contact information to your smartphone
You can secure your smartphone in the hands of a good person if you add your contact information to it. Most people will use a sticker with their first name and a number to contact. A few will add their email. Either way, you can get your smartphone back when a good person finds it, which is most of the time..
Whatever you do, please, do not put the phone number for the smartphone you’re trying to protect on the sticker. That would be a #fail.
Feature image via Sashkin / Shutterstock