4 Ways to Increase Your Smartphone Security

blog_smartphone_securityIf you have a smartphone, you know how versatile it is. You can organize and access all your contacts, email, social media, and even financial accounts at any time. With all that information, what happens if it is lost or stolen? How can you protect yourself from data loss or identity theft?

Lock Screen

All smartphones come with simple security measures. Your first line of defense is the lock screen. Depending on your operating system, this lock can be a password, number combination, or a swipe pattern. New smartphones may come with built-in fingerprint recognition. This emerging technology means you don’t need a password, but it often comes with a higher price tag.

Whatever lock combination you choose, it should be easy enough for you to remember, but hard for a criminal to crack.  Avoid commonly used (and easily cracked) codes, such as 1234, 0000, 2580, 1111, 5555, 5683 (LOVE) or numbers a criminal could find in your wallet or purse if it was stolen at the same time.

Lock options can be accessed through your Settings, under headings like “Location and Security,” “Security Options,” “Lock,” or other related words.  Never use the same password that you use for a different device or web site.

When setting your lock screen, consider enabling the option to wipe your device if too many invalid passcode attempts are made. This prevents hackers from having unlimited attempts to guess your passwords.

Applications

App stores offer apps with extra security measures. Phone trackers, finger print recognition, firewall and antivirus, and even photo security apps can be added to your phone. Always research a security app before you buy or download it. Always purchase your apps directly from the app stores.  Apps can contain malware for your phone; loading apps from emails, texts, or any place other than the official app stores increases your risks of loading malware.

Your Carrier

In addition, all carriers will offer remote wipe service in case your phone is lost or stolen. Through this option, all data is permanently erased from the phone. Often, carriers and third-party security services offer GPS trackers, remote virus scans, or data backup for a fee. Data backup can be indispensable, especially if you have important files on your phone.

Further Measures

Make sure to update your system whenever a security patch or upgrade becomes available. Be cautious when accessing a new Wi-Fi connection. Free, open-access Wi-Fi can also be a hotspot for hackers. Whenever possible, use an encrypted network that requires a password.

Ask your carrier what services they offer so that you can protect your personal information. To learn more on mobile safety, watch the video Play it Safe with Portable Devices on our site for more information.

What security measures do you take with your smartphone? Tell us in the comments!

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