May 18th 2017

How to hack-proof your smartphone

To access your personal stored information, including bank details and your address, all a hacker needs is your phone. If this is not adequately secured, their mission is even easier. Of the principle causes of security breaches, unsecured mobile phones are among the top seven. But with this advice from Hine Insurance, yours doesn’t have to be.

Bluetooth
The more you leave your Bluetooth connected, the more opportunity you provide unwarranted access. Make sure it’s turned off if you’re not using it.

WiFi
It can be tempting to hook up to whatever network is going to allow you to connect. But beware – unsecured public networks can be a portal for an underworld of snoopware and spam. It’s better to log on to a secured network, such as that which you would find in a coffee shop, or use your cellular data. And avoid checking your bank account when you’re on the fly to keep your bank details safe.

Passwords
There are plenty of options to lock down your phone so only you can use it. You can even access your phone with a fingerprint scan, your voice or your face on some of the newer smartphones. Use these tools to your advantage to stop anyone else gaining access. If you’re using a password, don’t go for one that’s easy to guess, like “1234” or your birth date. Alternatively, you could use the unlock pattern feature if you’re struggling with a memorable password.

Messages
Add SMS messages to phishing and you have “smiphishing”. You receive a text message, supposedly from a business you know and have dealings with, which asks for a password update or personal information. If you respond to the message or click any links within, you could be lumbered with malware, or even have your phone commandeered. Instead, just delete the message.

Security
There is no excuse for not having protection when surfing the internet on your phone as there are enough useful free options out there. Your phone provider has no obligation to protect your phone when browsing. Some apps roll all the protection you might want into one. For example, Webroot, which is available for Android phones provides antivirus protection, and allows you to locate, lock and wipe your phone remotely if you lose it or it’s been stolen.

Apps
Only download from official app stores, as these are more likely to have been verified. Be sure to read up on what the app offers, so when it asks you for permissions to access things like your photos or contacts, you know whether or not this is a reasonable request to facilitate the apps function.

Trackers
Android phones have trackers which are easy to activate and can be enabled via your phone settings. Once it’s on, you can find your phone and lock it. Other apps for tracking your phone are available to download, including Cerberus and Pre Anti-Theft.

If you’re reading this and checking off your smartphone security to-do list, there’s no time like the present. These measures are quick, free, and could save you from a personal cyber breach.