How you can protect your privacy while using your phone

In recent years, smartphones have become the most common way to browse the web, overtaking PCs and laptops.

With over 2.5 billion smartphones in the world, and with low cost phone suppliers like Buy Mobiles popping up, phones are becoming more and more directly entangled with our virtual lives.

This can only mean that the amount of personal information stored on our phones is increasing too.

It’s not unusual for people to see such facts and wonder “how do I keep my smartphone data secure?”.

We’ve put together some tips to help answer the question:

Consider Downloading an AntiVirus or Security App

Back in the day, such things didn’t exist for smartphones – and you could be forgiven for assuming this is still the case.

However, you’d be wrong – modern day phones are often just as complex as personal computers, which has increased both the risk posed by viruses and malware, and the options available to mitigate that risk.

Avast Mobile Security is an app that will regularly scan your phone’s files and protect it from harm – but plenty of other options are available too.

Set Up Remote Wiping and Phone Tracking

This is something people need to look out for when doing research to buy a phone, as not all phones offer it.

However, many up to date smart phones allow you to track your phone’s location if it goes missing, and remotely wipe data from it if it’s stolen.

This is a powerful form of protection that, along with a good passcode, makes it near impossible for a potential phone thief to get access to your data.

Backup your Data

Of course, if you lose your phone and aren’t sure whether it’s been stolen or not, you may be hesitant to wipe your data, worrying that you may later find the phone only to have lost everything on it.

Using cloud storage makes this a non issue and means getting your data back is never more than a button press or two away.

Use Reliable Apps

It goes without saying that you should stick to apps from the Google Play store or the Apple App Store. Many apps are available from other sources, but these are much more risky as they aren’t held to the rules of the stores or checked by the storeholder.

Avoid these entirely – but even within the official app stores, some apps can be sketchy.

Avoid these too by doing your research, checking reviews, and only downloading an app when you’re sure it’s the most reliable option for your needs.

Use a VPN

The fact that smartphones are mobile adds another element of risk. This is because you are likely to access public Wi-Fi networks from time to time, or connect to public, unprotected home networks.

This multiplies the risk factor because each new network is another potential chance for somebody to track your data or even location.

Downloading a VPN app for your phone allows you to connect to the internet anonymously and reduce this risk significantly.

Use a Password Manager

It’s a really bad idea to use the same password for everything, because it means if somebody gets your password, there is no limit to what they can do to you and the data they can get from you.

In an ideal world, you should have a unique password for every single service you use, and each of them should be a strong password packed full of different characters and numbers.

The simple fact is though, that nobody is going to be able to remember all of these passwords, and to do this manually comes with a huge set of its own issues.

Password managers get around all this by creating secure, encrypted passwords for you and then keeping them secure, essentially meaning if you can keep the password manager app safe from prying eyes, then everything else in your name is bulletproof.

Don’t Avoid Updates

Many people avoid updates, assuming they will slow down their phone or reduce their memory. While this is your choice to make, updates are regularly packed with security fixes and responses to new activities by criminals.

Avoiding even a single update decreases the security of your phone and increases the likelihood of a hack.

Avoid Unusual Links or Attachments

This one is probably common sense, but if someone sends you an unusual attachment or a link you haven’t asked for, don’t click it. You should also read up on phishing scams as some people will send you emails pretending to be on behalf of a company. These can be very believable in some instances, but a foolproof way to be sure is to click on the name of the sender and confirm the email address it has come from. If it isn’t from the domain it claims to be, or is a gibberish URL, then it is not trustworthy.

[Written By External Partner]