Tips to Improve the Security of Your Phone

With the significant number of data breaches popping up in the news at a seemingly breakneck pace, it’s never been more critical to protect your personal data. This is especially true on mobile devices, where the focus of malicious hackers is increasingly directed. Let’s look at some simple but effective ways you can turn your phone into an impenetrable data fortress.

Lock your phone down with a strong password.

This should go without saying, but a strong password is an absolute must for anyone using personal electronics.  You have many options: traditional password, PIN number, or even biometrics like retina scans and fingerprints. However you do it, make sure you do it, and if you go the password route, make sure it’s a strong one at least 8 characters long, and nothing like “password” or “12345678” or your name (though thankfully, most password functions are smart enough not to let you use those passwords these days).

Lock down your app privacy settings.

These days, most mobile apps include configurable privacy settings that control what the app is allowed to see, and what kind of access it has to various other vulnerable elements on your phone.  Internet access, your phone’s camera, and other vulnerabilities could be exploited by a malicious hacker looking to steal data or cause damage. Make sure each app is configured with the most restrictive settings possible for it to still function, and not a bit more.

Enable your phone’s remote location and remote wipe functions.

Lost or stolen phones have the potential to become significant security risks if the wrong person gets ahold of them.  In the old days, the best you could do was set up a password policy that wiped the phone if someone incorrectly guessed the password enough times. Now, you can use built-in remote functions to locate your phone, or even wipe the data no matter where it is.

Make sure you regularly back up the data stored on your mobile device.

Making your phone hard to break into isn’t the only part of security that you need to be concerned with.  You also need to make sure that YOU have access to your stuff, and you can’t do that if your phone is damaged beyond repair, has its data wiped for some reason, or otherwise renders your music, pictures, and other stuff inaccessible.  Your provider may have some kind of built-in function to do this, but there are also a million third-party options available as well.

Disable Bluetooth if you’re not using it.

Believe it or not, Bluetooth is one of the most commonly-exploited functions hackers use to gain unauthorized access to mobile devices. You might use it to connect to your car, a wireless keyboard, or another accessory, but if you’re not using any of those at the moment, it would be in your best interests to disable Bluetooth entirely.

These are just a few of the many strategies you can use to improve the security on your phone.  Thankfully, iOS and Android app development have largely caught up to the ever-evolving security needs of mobile device users, but ultimately, it’s up to you to make sure your devices are secure enough to protect your information.