Tips to Keep Your Smartphone Secure

From apps to contacts to accounts and more, our phones contain so much personal information. Have you ever thought about securing your information on your phone?

Buy a Protective Case
Smartphones can be expensive. If you drop your phone, it could cost hundreds of dollars to fix or even more if you have to replace it. A case for your phone can protect your device and help prevent damage.

But make sure you comparison shop to find a great deal on a case. It’s rare that you’ll find a bargain through your cell phone provider. Try shopping on Amazon or Walmart to find an affordable option, and read reviews to make sure you’re getting a quality case at a good price.

Install a Reputable Antivirus Software App
There are many mobile antivirus apps; some are free and some are not. Most of the free versions are full of ads. There are two options that I like: Bit Defender Mobile Security and Avast Security. Both offer a free version and a paid version. My tip is to try the free version first, and if the ads bother you, switch to the paid option.

Set Up a Secure Passcode
If your phone is lost or stolen, it’s important to make sure it’s locked so only you can easily access your information. Many phones, such as the Apple iPhone and Google Pixel, have options to set up a unique passcode that you enter before you can use your phone. You can also set up your device so you can unlock it with your fingerprint.

Turn On the “Find My Phone” Option
Apple and Android both have apps for this. Using it will allow you to find your phone if it is ever lost or stolen. You can also enable the feature to erase your phone remotely or have it automatically erased after a number of failed login attempts.

Use a Password Manager
Many people use their smartphones to login into their bank, credit card and other kinds of websites that contain sensitive information. Instead of saving the password in your phone’s app or browser, install a password manager to save your login information. A password manager will require a PIN or password to open the program.

Backup Your Phone on a Regular Basis
Phones can crash just like computers, and if you don’t have a backup, you may lose any information that you’ve saved locally on your device. Use a cloud-based service, or back up your phone’s information to your computer.

Choose Apps Carefully
Not all apps are legitimate and many request access to personal data. Always get your apps directly from the app store. Research each app, check reviews and read the privacy policy before deciding if you should install it.

Keep Your Phone Up-to-Date
Manufactures release system updates and other security updates to keep you safe. Be sure to install these when they become available.

Watch Out for Phishing Email and Text Messages
Do not respond to email or text messages that request personal information or that you don’t recognize. Think about the types of data on your phone: passwords, financial information, health information and other personal information. Once a hacker gains access to your device they can steal all of that data.

Set Up a SIM Card Lock
Many people realize the importance of setting up a password on their phone in the event that it is lost or stolen. But you can also set a lock on your SIM card which protects it with a password. Doing so will prevent someone from removing the SIM card and using your number on another device. The SIM card contains your phone number, contact and billing information.

Avoid Phone Number Port Out
This is not a new problem but it’s becoming more widespread. Porting out a phone number is when a thief transfers your phone number to a different carrier or SIM card. Typically, that means the hacker has already learned enough of your personal information to call your mobile provider and request the change.

Once the port out is complete all calls and text messages will be forwarded to the new number. And then the hacker can request password resets for your online accounts to steal information from those accounts.

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