If you aren’t one of those people concerned with keeping their smartphone protected at all times, you should be.
Why learn the steps to shielding your smartphone?
Well, if you want to keep personal information like photos, bank account numbers, passwords, and contacts safe, you need to know this. Did you know you could be downloading malware (i.e. a bad virus) to your phone just by visiting a website?
I’m here to give you some helpful “hacks” to secure your phone that you can do in less than five minutes. FIVE MINUTES, PEOPLE! That’s how long it takes to get through Apple’s automated answering service. You’ve got time for this.
Let’s start with some basics:
1) Password protect your phone:
Most people already have a password (or fingerprint) they use to get into their phones. If you don’t have one, make one immediately. Even such a simple thing as a log-in password can deter future hackers. The two most common passwords to EVER exist are “1234567890” and “password.” DO NOT use these for your login…or basically any account you want protected. Use some numbers that make sense to you (that you can remember easily), but hard enough for people not to guess.
I have an iPhone, so I’m not sure what other Privacy settings exist out there, but this tip should work for any model phone.
A simple trick to stop apps from knowing your location, using your microphone, and spying on you through your camera is to go to the Privacy setting.
Here, you’ll find a whole list of buttons to turn off if you don’t want apps knowing sensitive info. Every privacy option I’m listing below can be found under the Privacy tab.
ALWAYS turn your “Location Services” off. If you use an app like Uber or MapMyRun and need your location turned on, then only turn those on. (I recommend turning those off when you aren’t using them). You can control which apps use your location by this simple step: Settings<Privacy<LocationServices. Now, either slide the button to completely turn off LS, or go down the list and choose which ones you want to know your location.
PICK AND CHOOSE which apps you allow access to your photos. Did you know that every photo you take contains the location where it was taken? It’s up to you which apps you want “reading and writing” your photos, but I recommend turning all of them off, except the ones you use on a daily basis. While on the subject of photos, to stay safe on social media, avoid tagging your location when you post a photo. This helps prevent tracking across the social media app you use.
Also located in Privacy is the “camera” button. Slide this off when you aren’t using your camera to prevent an app from “watching you.” There is controversy about this, and I’m not sure if app developers can do this or not, but, again, to be on the safe side, I keep mine turned off.
MICROPHONE is a biggie. Some popular apps like Smule S!ng, Ellen’s Hot Hands, and musical.ly require mic access. I’m not sure what these apps do with the mic when you’re not using the app, but to be on the safe side, I would turn them off when the app isn’t in
use. You don’t want a stranger listening in on a private conversation…
3) Your Browser
Internet searching is where most malware gets picked up. To keep you and your phone safe, follow these easy steps:
a. Always clear your browser history after EVERY search, even if you’re just looking up something as simple as a movie release date. “Private” browsing is never really private, and probably does send some history data back to the developer.
b. Don’t visit any website you think is suspicious. If ads or those “You’ve won a free iPhone” messages keep popping up, get off that site immediately and clear your browser history ASAP. Stick with well-known sites and don’t go to websites with long addresses or too many numbers. Use your better judgment and stick to your gut.
c. If out of the blue, you start noticing weird emails in your inbox advertising weather in your area, Yahoo searches near you, or where to buy gel shoe inserts, it means you have picked up a “profile.” You get a profile by clicking on a unsecured ad/website from either your browser or a pop-up ad (like the kind you find on games). These can be potentially harmful to your phone. If you notice these emails, NEVER open them, and ALWAYS send them straight to junk. You can tell profiles by the examples I listen above, or if you see these lines || at the bottom of an email’s info. Unfortunately, with a profile, you have to get rid of it manually. Here’s how to do it:
If you get profiles repeatedly, you need to cut back on visiting unsecured websites, and contact your smartphone's support representatives.
4) Update, Update, Update:
Keeping your smartphone updated to the latest iOS software is very important. The developers say that you will get less bugs if you update every time they send a new one out. If you’re like me and kept your old iPhone 4 because it had 900+ pictures, try to connect it to wi-fi as little as possible. iPhone 4s and below can’t be updated to the latest software, so they’re more likely to pick up bugs. Go to Settings<General<Software Update to update your phone. The updates usually take anywhere from 20-50 minutes, so make sure you have some time. It’s totally worth it to update, though.
5) The Dreaded Password
I will be straightforward: the best way to keep your passwords safe is to NOT put them on the notes of your phone. Write them (yes, with a pencil) on a piece of paper and keep them in your purse or tape them somewhere safe in your office. Make varied passwords, and don’t use consecutive words in phrases people may know
(ex= peterpiperpickedapeck). Combine words you’ll remember with numbers, uppercase letters, and special characters. Even though it may be a pain, changing your passwords every six months is recommended.
I hope this post has helped you get a better grasp on what you can do to keep your smartphones safe and secure! Everything written above is from my personal experiences and is not verified by any major smartphone developer. Just a disclaimer. 😊 If you have any questions, comment below!
Thanks for reading, and don’t forget to follow me on Twitter (@HogwartsGrad_7)!
Remember, never EVER leave the house without your wand!