Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Our smartphones are quickly becoming the technological device we use the most. We shop, chat, work, bank, and take pictures and video with it. Our phones have plenty of personal information of them beyond just phone numbers and email addresses. We store documents on our phones and save log-ins and passwords on our online browsers. If our phones are stolen or hacked into, it's more than just a device at stake. It's our privacy. How can you make sure your phone is protected? Well, here are five ways you can amp up the security of your smartphone.
1. Keep Bluetooth turned off most of the time.
It's always on by default, so change the settings to keep it off or upgrade it to the latest Bluetooth security setting. When it's on, your phone connects easily to other Bluetooth-enabled phones. It makes it easier for hackers or viruses to make their way onto your phone and start saving or transmitting your personal data. Police your Bluetooth connections, and make sure you only connect to devices belonging to people you know and trust.
2. Don't use free Wi-Fi to send sensitive information.
The convenience of unencrypted Internet connections cannot be denied, especially if you're trying to curb your data usage because of a small data plan. You should know, however, that nothing you do over an unencrypted connection is guaranteed to be secure. There are ways for others to access your data. Avoid providing your credit card information during an online shopping spree or sending sensitive emails when you're connected to a network anyone can access for free.
3. Use password protection.
Setting up a password for your device makes it harder for anyone who has your actual physical phone to get through to the data it holds. Follow the usual password security rules: Don't write your password down anywhere, don't tell anyone your password, and don't use the same password you use for everything else. This will make it harder for anyone to guess your password and get into your phone.
4. Watch out for spam messages.
Hackers trying to gain access to your phone or sensitive accounts may send you text messages claiming they are your mobile provider or your bank. They may ask you for log-in information, passcode confirmation, or other sensitive information. Instead of responding back to that number, call your mobile provider or financial institution and ask them if the message came from them. If it did not, you can simply delete the message without giving them any information.
5. Keep your phone updated.
It's tempting to just ignore those pesky "update available" messages, but those updates can actually help keep your phone safe. Updates often fix known security hacks or breaches in previous versions of the app. If you fall behind and have an outdated application or operating system, you run the risk of someone behind able to exploit a security bug. Install updates as soon as they come in to avoid this risk. Upgrade to the newest software or hardware if possible.
Keeping your smartphone secure means that if it should get lost, stolen, or hacked, nobody will be able to use the information you have in there. Take steps to secure your information before anything happens.
This guest blog was written by David Chen of Bestincellphones.com, where you can upgrade to a new Verizon Wireless phone with a new contract extension.