Encrypt your Device

With increased popularity of mobile devices, cell phones have become the new target for hackers and outside security breaches. Since cell phones are so accessible, it’s become the new trend to work out of the palm of your hand while traveling or in between home and the office. While this may be convenient, it’s also dangerous if you don’t have the proper mobile device security.

Our phones offer immediate access to personal and financial information, yet are often less protected than other devices such as computers and network systems. According to a 2016 report on mobile security by Intertrust, “The cost of mobile app hacks and breaches will reach $1.5 billion by 2021. However, despite these growing concerns, many people, including company executives, do not take basic security precautions. Here are 5 easy steps to protect your cell from security breaches:

Encrypt your device

Encrypting your phone is an easy way to protect sensitive data. Most phones have an encryption setting which scrambles your phone’s data, making it unreadable to hackers. By entering the correct pin or password, your phone decrypts the data and makes it understandable. Attackers are unable to access the data without the encryption key, protecting your sensitive personal data and reducing your risk of unauthorized access.

Make sure free or public wifi is protected

Free and public wifi has become increasingly popular and is easily accessible to users. While it may seem like a great alternative to avoid using up your data plan, public wifi is not always the most secure. It provides cyber criminals with easy access into your phone and gives them a gold mine of personal data. While using free and public wifi, it is important not to use any passwords or sign into any accounts that hold sensitive information such as banking or email accounts. While public wifi may be okay for a quick web search, it is important to be aware of the security risks and switch back to your mobile data plan if you need to access other important applications or files.

One way to help secure your phone from public wifi threats is to use a virtual private network (VPN). As written by Forbes Magazine, “A VPN is software that encrypts your wireless session across a public network. Some phones come with a VPN already installed, while others can download one through the app store at a relatively cheap price. This helps secure your phone and takes preventative security measures to help make your phone as secure as possible while using wifi.

Set up a Remote Swipe

While losing your phone can already a huge inconvenience, it can give others access to your personal information and data if you have not secured your device. This is why it is important to download applications such as “Find my iPhone or “Android Device Manager that allow you to track and remotely wipe your device when your phone becomes lost or stolen. The remote wipe occurs when the phone first connects to the internet- preventing the information on your phone from being accessed. This is an easy step to take that can help to relieve the stress of a loss or stolen phone, and it helps to reduce the risk of others accessing sensitive information.

Install Anti-Malware Applications

While many understand the importance of using anti malware and virus packages for their laptops or computers, the majority of people do not take the same security precautions to protect their mobile devices. There are various different and nasty malware and viruses out there, which is why it is important to stay protected.

Many third party applications are not monitored or vetted by app stores such as Google Play and iTunes. These apps are less secure and can be a dangerous hide out for malware and viruses. While iPhones only allow apps to be downloaded through iTunes, many people get around this by jailbreaking their phones in order to download third-party applications. This provides a window for hackers to access personal information and increases security risks.

If you do decide to download a third party app, it is important to read reviews and avoid entering too much personal information. With anti malware applications, your phone is protected if you click a malicious link or download a malicious application, and tt can help prevent a security breach or infection. While it may seem like an extreme measure, it is better to be safe than sorry when it comes to malware and viruses.

Update Operating Systems Often

While continuous update pop-ups can be annoying, it is important to constantly update your phone as frequently as you would your laptop or computer. The drainage of battery and prolonged update time prevents many users from updating their phones. However, the longer a user waits to update, the more time hackers have to exploit security vulnerabilities in the system. There are operating flaws in each system, and eventually, cybercriminals are bound to find the weaknesses in the system. Updating your phone software consistently helps to fix these flaws in the system and keep your phone secure and protected. Even if software updates do not introduce many new features, it is important to keep updating for security purposes. With each “maybe later button you hit to prolong that software update, you are giving hackers a longer window of opportunity to access your information.

Much like computers, mobile devices have security flaws. With the amount of personal data and information that is stored in your phone, it is important to protect certain vulnerabilities. While many users take basic security measures, such as installing a passcode for their phones, it is essential to take it a step further by using these simple and easy tips to ensure your device is secure. With over 5 million mobile phone users around the world, it is more important than ever to take preventative measures to protect yourself.

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