Smartphones have changed the game. Every day, we walk around with personal messages, work correspondence, family photos, and even banking information on one tiny device in our pocket. While convenient, it’s important to secure your device. Android malware, viruses, and even basic theft pose a threat to your data.
Thankfully, there are a few simple steps you can take to better protect yourself, your data, and your cell phone.
Set Up A Unique Password
A unique password keeps strangers from unlocking your device. There are a variety of password options available depending on your phone model, whether patterns, pins, fingerprints, and even face recognition. Next step – make sure your password, pin, or pattern can’t be easily guessed. It may be tempting to use “password” as your password or your birthday as your PIN, but this is not advisable. A tip? Make your password a sentence! And remember, no matter what kind of password you choose, changing it every 6 months provides additional protection.
Don’t Download From Just Anywhere
Once your device is password protected, the next step is to look at where you are downloading your phone’s apps. When you add an app to your phone, always download it from a verified source like the Google Play Store. Google devices automatically include Google Play Protect, which runs a safety check on apps, providing an extra layer of protection. It also proactively checks your device for potentially harmful apps that you might have downloaded someplace else.
Read the Fine Print
As the saying goes, you should never sign anything without reading it first. This includes app permissions and fine print. An app you downloaded to play a game or order a pizza could be accessing information that it doesn’t need, including your contact lists, photos, and location. Making sure your apps don’t have access to anything non-essential can help you secure your information. Don’t remember the last time you used a certain app? Delete it! Apps you aren’t using take up valuable space on your phone and leave your information vulnerable.
Don’t Wait to Update
When you get an alert that your phone’s Operating System (OS) has a new update, don’t wait to implement it. Phone companies have teams of developers constantly working to fix bugs that could affect your phone. Each update often gives you an added layer of protection. If you wait, you could be leaving your device open to bugs that android malware can exploit to get your information.
Install Find My Device
Now that you’ve protected your phone, you might feel great. But it won’t help too much if you can’t find your phone and think someone might have stolen it. Be sure to download Find my Device, an app that lets you lock and locate your phone remotely. That way, even if you find it in the couch cushions, you can breathe a sigh of relief that no one had the chance to access your data.
Want more information on how to protect your personal information? Read up on 4 common mobile phone scams & how to avoid them.