Smartphones – though they may seem little in size, they are our greatest helpers when doing several tasks. Apart from calling and sending text messages, smartphones help in productivity, finance, entertainment, lifestyle, parenting and even travelling tasks. Besides helping, smartphones, however, can turn out to be a bigger risk when they are not taken care of properly regarding security and privacy.
In this article, we’ll show you how you can improve your smartphones’ security and privacy.
Lock your Device
This is the first thing you should do when you buy/acquire a smartphone. According to the manufacturer, there are several ways that you can lock your device. The common method is by using a password or a passcode. When setting one (password/passcode), ensure its strong and nobody can guess it. Other ways in which you can lock your device is by using biometrics such as a fingerprint or a facial recognition authentication such as Face ID, Iris scanning, and others.
Updates patch security and privacy vulnerabilities in an operating system. Always update your device as soon as the update becomes available. Not only updating the system, but you should also update the apps as well. Besides patching, updates bring new features and overall increased device performance. Also, when a buying a smartphone, ensure you get the ones that receive updates frequently.
Use the Official App Store
Various smartphone platforms offer different stores where users can search, download, update and install apps (i.e., for Android, it’s the Google Play Store and iPhones (iOS) use the Apple App store). But at times, some apps may not be available on these official stores and are only available via third-party stores. Before you get an app from these other stores, ensure they have a good reputation. You can know this by reading reviews. Also, ensure your device’s protection mechanisms are always up and running, they will warn you about potential threats from such apps.
Be Careful with App Permissions
For apps to function properly, they require permissions; these permissions grant them access to what entities they will access. Some apps may request access to sensitive data. For instance, various apps may require access to contacts, SMS, location, storage, camera, internet and so on. Always do a little research to verify whether it is really necessary to allow a particular app to access such permissions.
Turn Off some Services/FeatureS when Not in Use
Services such as Bluetooth and Location are essential, but they can also be used maliciously. For instance, in what is known as bluejacking, an individual can send you unsolicited messages via Bluetooth. This can be annoying and sometimes frustrating. You might also get advertising messages. Location services can be used to track/monitor your movements without your consent.
Don’t Jailbreak/Root your Devices
Jailbreaking/rooting can give you access to locked privileges. Jailbreaking is for iOS/Apple devices while rooting is for Android devices. A jailbreak/root can allow apps to read other apps data and even circumvent the set permissions. This can be helpful but very devastating if a rogue app gets access to your passwords, usernames and everything that you want to keep secure and private. If you’re going to jailbreak/root your device, at least don’t do it on your primary device that houses essential information.
Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)
Lastly, when accessing the internet – be it via WIFI or Cellular Network, it is advisable to use a VPN. A VPN is a proven tool that provides security via encryptions and also privacy by changing your IP address. You also get to enjoy other accrued benefits such as gaining access to restricted content globally.