1. Use a secure lock screen
Establishing a lock screen passcode should be your first order of business as a smartphone owner, as it’s the first line of defense in securing your phone. So many people these days more or less live out of their phones, so when such personal information is at stake, it is important to take steps to protect it. At the very least, by setting up a passcode and short lock interval, you can make sure that any random person that picks up your phone will not be able to access your information.
Although you should choose a passcode that you can remember, try to avoid using common codes or easy guesses such as birthdays, anniversaries, etc.
2. Update software
Regardless of whether you run iOS, Android, Windows, etc. on your phone, it’s important to always ensure that you are running the latest version of the OS available. This is because vital security issues get addressed in these updates, so if you run your phone with an old OS, it may be compromised.
There was a vulnerability last year that meant that hackers could access an iOS device remotely via Wi-Fi without any user interaction. Basically, the issue was in a WebSheet component of iOS that is used when iPhone users connect to public WIFI networks that require them to go through a login page. It seems that Apple wasn’t doing enough validation to prevent malicious code running when the login page was loaded. Fortunately, iOS 10.2 resolved this issue.
3. Be mindful of apps and their sources
It can be incredibly tempting to micromanage your life with the variety of apps offered on Smartphones. The categories are vast, ranging from social media to productivity to banking to even personal health management and some of these apps can have incredible benefits. But what happens when you install an app from an untrusted source?
Earlier this year, millions of Android phone users unknowingly downloaded malware called HummingWhale. It has the capability of installing apps on your phone without the user’s permission and hiding the original app after it has already infected the phone, making it harder for users to clean up the mess left in the wake of this malware. All of these corrupt apps were in the app store using names of fake Chinese app developers.
Google Play is a little more vulnerable than Apple Store when it comes to malicious apps, however this could have been prevented if individuals knew to verify the sources of the apps they download. It’s important to always review app developers and the permissions apps seek before downloading them to your phone.
4. Turn off WIFI and Bluetooth when not in use
Ensure that any automatic WIFI connection setting is disabled, requiring you to grant permission to connect to any wireless networks. Similarly, although Bluetooth can be wonderful for convenience in terms of connecting to a remote headset, speakers, or what have you, always make sure that you have it disabled when it is not in use.
This is because the same technology that allows you to connect to WIFI networks and pair with Bluetooth items can be abused to grant malicious entities access to your device. A simple way to prevent vulnerabilities related to this is to just always be aware of what you are connecting your phone to.
If you have any questions or comments on this topic, please don’t hesitate to contact us!
This article was written by Kristina Weber, Content Supervisor of Centry Ltd.