When you think of something being hacked, you might think of a home computer or network and never imagine someone hacking into your cell phone. But cell phones hold all the power, all the data and all the information that computers hold, making them prime targets for hacking and putting your accounts and passwords at risk.
If you use your cell phone to check email, financial accounts, download apps or more, there’s a chance your information could be breached. Here are a few tips to protect your information and keep it out of the wrong hands.
1. Keep your phone’s operating system up-to-date.
Just like your computer, your cell phone has an operating system that needs periodic upgrades.
Go into your phone’s settings and you’ll see notifications for updates as soon as they’re made available. Updates vary, but might include fixes for common bugs or glitches and might strengthen your phone’s security features. If you ignore these or have an out-of-date operating system, you be more susceptible to hackers. And with your phone hacked, someone could access your name, account numbers and even your passwords.
2. Download security software.
If you have an Android phone, consider downloading security software that can protect your personal information. Don’t choose any random software program; numerous options are available, so make sure you shop around and look for programs that offer legitimate protection.
Read reviews before downloading an app, or ask family or friends for recommendations. You can also go an extra step and find a security program that lets you password-protect important apps to ensure no one’s able to break into your accounts. The same way you update your phone’s operating system from time-to-time, make sure you keep your security software up-to-date for maximum protection.
3. Review apps before installing.
If you’re thinking about installing a new app on your phone, make sure you read reviews about the app before installing. Any app you put on your phone should be reputable and safe. If not, you could potentially download an app created by hackers and designed to break into your phone and access your personal information. Just because an app is available for download doesn’t mean it’s trustworthy. As a rule of thumb, avoid downloading apps from third-party app stores that haven’t been properly vetted.
4. Avoid public networks.
As tempting as it might be to join a public network when you’re at a coffeehouse, retail store or other public area, fight this urge! Granted, hopping on free Wi-Fi can help you browse the internet more quickly and provide a fast connection when you have a weak signal, but jumping on a public network opens your phone up to hackers. Someone could be waiting to take advantage of your vulnerability. So unless you absolutely need to use public Wi-Fi, stay off these networks to keep your information secure.
5. Don’t use easy unlocking methods.
If you have a difficult time remembering passwords, you might set up an easy unlock passcode, like “1234.”
Just remember, the easier your passcode, the easier it is for someone to figure out if your phone is lost or stolen. Make sure you choose difficult passwords and get into a routine of changing your passwords often.
Cell phones might not hold as much information as a laptop or desktop computer, but the information contained on your phone is still important. Therefore, you need to do everything possible to keep its contents safe and out of the hands of those looking to do harm.