10 ways to protect your phone and data

Phone Hacked imageWe tend to take our cellphones for granted, even though they play a very important role in our life and in many ways are more important than our home computer.

But while you may pay up to $100 a year for the top-of-the-line anti-virus software on your computer, your phone is left with little or no protection. If this is you, then you are not alone!

Below are 10 ways Techradar.com recommends you can keep your cellphone and personal information protected:

  • Update your software:  iOS, Android or Windows Phone — it doesn’t matter what program your phone runs on — make certain it has the latest version. Most manufacturers allow you to set your phone to check for updates automatically, so always make sure this box is ticked.
  • Locked Screen option: Once again, just like your computer, it’s always preferable to have a basic password on your lock screen. The process is easy, just navigate to the phone’s security settings and enable a pass lock. Not all security systems are the same, however, so be a good consumer and review them when looking for your next phone. Tip: Make certain that any boxes allowing passwords to be visible are not clicked.
  • Have antivirus software: While phone viruses aren’t as widespread as those on computers it can happen. The best advice is to avoid downloading questionable software or visiting websites that could pose a danger to your data. In general iPhones are typically less vulnerable because downloads must come from the Apple store, while Android systems tend to be more-so because programs can be installed without being checked by Google.  Either way, mobile antivirus software from McAfee, AVG and Lookout are all good possibilities to protect your investment and personal information.
  • Know your apps: Going outside the App Store or Google’s Play Store maybe tempting, these apps are definitely less secure and could contain malicious code. The process of “rooting” your Android phone or “jailbreaking” your iPhone also poses severe danger because you could lose all the original firebreaks intended to protect your data. Just don’t do it — it’s that simple.
  • Lock code apps work: A second layer of security is available by using lock code apps, which come into play if someone gets past your initial password code. If you’ve got a pass code that somehow manages to get into the wrong hands then all your data could potentially be at risk. Vault apps also allow you to be safe by storing files in a dedicated area of your device or on an SD card.
  • Modes for kids, guests: Of vital importance are modes that prevent your children or a guest user of your phone to travel into areas where you have private date. Many Android and Windows devices now have them and they are downloadable on iOS as well. Just use a pin code that you can remember!
  • Leave location settings set: Losing an expensive smartphone can be extremely frustrating and these settings at least give you a chance to find it if the phone is lost or stolen. On the iPhone, the app is very easy to install, while on the Android just navigate to Google Play via a web browser, click the settings wheel and hit Android device manager. From here you can locate, ring, lock and erase your device if needed.
  • Wearable tech works: There are now phones available that will  notify you if the the phone was left behind. As the Bluetooth connection is broken, either by buzzing or having the phone ring if still in range.
  • Set the SIM lock: A SIM lock is particularly important if you are tied into an uncapped contract because it requires you use a PIN before you make a call or send a message. It’s not the most efficient way to use your phone, but it’s available nonetheless.
  • Dump the private info: Never putting questionable files on your phone is the most efficient way of protecting them if the phone is stolen. With phones like the HTC One, Galaxy S4 or iPhone 5S able to support external USB drives via a separate cable or through a wireless USB flash drive, there is no need for these sensitive files to ever there.