We know you’re careful about staying safe online, but does that extend to your phone in addition to the computer? It should. With the convenience of the World Wide Web at your fingertips, it’s more important than ever to be cautious on your phone to stay protected from cyber criminals. Here are some tips to get you started:
1. Keep your phone on your person at all times. We can’t emphasize this enough. Don’t make yourself vulnerable by forgetting it at a restaurant, on the counter, airport security bin, taxi/Uber rides, etc. Think of your contacts, auto-login apps, photos, and notes you store on your phone. Not to mention a criminal having access to your text message code authorizations to get into financial accounts.
2. Don’t use public charging stations you see in airports, planes, hotels, coffee shops, etc. The USB cord you use to plug into the charging port is used to transmit data, and if you plug into a compromised public port, everything on your phone could be accessed. This is called “juice jacking”. Instead, carry a portable USB battery pack and only charge using wall outlets, as their only purpose is to deliver electricity.
3. Don’t loan your phone to strangers. Hackers can install tapping software quickly without you noticing. If you do let someone use your phone, consider changing your passcode afterward to be safe.
4. Don’t click on suspicious links in emails or text messages. This should go without saying, but it’s always a good reminder.
5. Create a complicated password to encrypt your phone. Using 6+ digits, facial recognition, or your thumbprint are all good options. Additionally, make sure your phone auto-locks when unattended for a short amount of time.
6. Enable remote wiping and GPS tracking so you can see where your lost phone is and wipe it clean if needed.
7. Install security software, such as McAfee or Avast Mobile Security, to help detect malicious activity.
8. If any institution asks for your personal information via email or text, think twice about providing it. No legitimate company should do this.
9. Don’t do any purchasing or banking when you are on public Wi-Fi, as this is a common target for hackers. Instead, use your plan data (turn off the Wi-Fi and it will switch automatically).
10. Log out of your bank account and other investment or shopping apps when you are done. Do not leave yourself logged in.