For many of us, our mobile phones are our most important companion. In fact, plenty in today’s society would find life decidedly uncomfortable without their most trusted device. Whether that’s an indictment of our society or not is a debate for another time — the fact is the mobile phone is one of the most important facets of modern life.
With the younger generation spending an average of four hours on their phones per day, and mobiles having long been the primary source for web browsing, the question of phone security should be a prominent one. In an age where our data and privacy are under threat, what should you be doing to protect your phone?
Start with the basics
If your phone doesn’t enforce the use of a screen lock but offers one, you should of course be using it. Many phones these days will have some form of biometric unlock, i.e. fingerprint scan or facial recognition, but you should also have a passcode or pattern unlock backing it up.
Keeping your login passwords secure is easier than ever with modern devices, and you should trust your phone to create and store highly complex passwords for you rather than choosing your own. Your phone data should be encrypted via your passcode, but you can also download encryption software to protect against any extraction of data.
Manage your Connectivity
The modern mobile is always switched on, thinking and connected. This can be a good and bad thing at the same time. Whilst your phone might be whirring away in your pocket downloading updates and processing data, the same connectivity can also make it vulnerable to unwanted intrusion.
If you’re concerned, you can turn off wireless connectivity whilst you’re not using it. The same goes for your Bluetooth settings.
Conscious Social Media Presence
Social media has drawn plenty of criticism thanks to our seemingly unhealthy obsession with it. In amongst the ethical questions, there are also security concerns surrounding our constant desire to share information with the wider world.
Particularly when it comes to adding photos to the likes of Facebook and Instagram, users should be taking extra care. Geotagging tends to be automatic on photo uploads, meaning your location is available for all to see. Beyond this, users should be conscious of the actual content of their uploads.
Unwillingly, you may have produced a stream of photos that tell an unsettlingly comprehensive story of your life. A birthday photo can show your age and date of birth, whilst another shot may feature sensitive information in the background. Those who are looking for it may be able to build up an accurate profile of you that could be used fraudulently.
Thus, next time you’re uploading a photo, take a moment to consider what is in the shot you’re posting.
Treat it like a Computer
As the home PC came to the fore as a primary household device, computer security became a massive deal. The likes of McAfee made a fortune from anti-virus protections and it was seemingly ridiculous to operate a home computer without the relevant safety guards in place.
Considering the phone has replaced the home PC as the tool that does everything from running our daily schedule to managing our finances, shouldn’t we treat it with the same respect? Installing anti-virus software, backing up your data and being careful with your downloads should all be part of your day to day phone use.
The good news is the sophistication of modern mobile releases means many come built in with adequate security features. With people typically investing in a new phone every couple of years, most people will stay up to date with decent security merely by updating their handset. Still, at a time when online fraud and privacy concerns are higher than ever, it makes sense to do everything you can to get the most from your phone’s security potential.