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You can do almost anything with your fancy new smartphone and tablet. Including having your data stolen.
Yep. Today’s iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and Windows Phones are so powerful and advanced that owning one is like having a mini PC in your pocket. Unfortunately, that means they carry the same kinds of security vulnerabilities as computers too.
Phones and tablets are also small enough to steal easily. And you often connect them to the internet via public 3G, 4G and Wi-Fi networks. So you can see why it’s worth taking steps to stay safe on mobile devices.
Here are the tips you need to know.
Set a passcode
Your mobile device has all your private conversations, contacts, and much more stored on it. If someone steals it – or even if someone you know wants to snoop – they can see all that stuff easily. Unless you lock it, that is.
Set your device to require a secret passcode every time you start using it. Every device has these settings, and they could save your private data from a thief or spy.
Encrypt your internet data
Public Wi-Fi networks are notoriously easy to eavesdrop on. And even 4G and 3G connections have their security flaws.
Use a VPN service to encrypt your mobile Internet data and keep it safe from third parties. Download and try ExpressVPN, with apps for Android, iOS, and Routers, and a SSL-secured, 256-bit encryption. With a VPN, you can go online anywhere and know your data is secured.
Be careful about which apps can access your data
One of the great things about mobile is all the apps you can download. Almost anyone can make an app and put it on the store – but what does that tell you about the quality and security of some of those apps?
Android in particular is known for letting internet-connected apps run in the background, which might then access and upload data such as your locations and photos. Besides the security risks, they’re wasting your monthly data allowance!
Use reputable apps and check they aren’t accessing your private data more often than you realize.
Protect against malware
Malicious software that targets mobile devices to steal your data is on the rise. Mobile malware often comes disguised as clones of popular and trusted apps, such as Flappy Bird. It might then steal account credentials, install other apps without permission, or perform some other unwanted action.
Again, be careful about which apps you install. Mobile anti-malware software is also available from Kaspersky, McAfee, Norton, Sophos and others.
Don’t leave Bluetooth on
There are a few Bluetooth security flaws that result in theft of your data, but two of the more serious ones are:
- Bluebugging – Attackers remotely access Bluetooth-enabled devices and are able to steal information, use its internet connection, eaves-drop on calls and more.
- Bluesmack – A Bluetooth denial of service attack that overwhelms your device with malicious requests, causing it to be inoperable.
In both cases, the attacker needs to be within a few yards of your device. But it’s safest just to switch off Bluetooth when you aren’t using it. It helps save battery power too!
Switch on security features
Newer mobile devices have some fantastic features designed to protect against theft. On iPhone and iPad, Find My Phone tracks the location of your phone after it’s been stolen. Similar apps are available for Android devices. Use them!