Phones are kind of a big deal these days. Whether you’re mindlessly swiping away on Tinder, wandering the streets at two in the morning looking for Pokémon, or sending out your 348th text of the day, your phone is right by your side living life with you. But your phone isn’t just for building fictional kingdoms and taking selfies from rather unwise locations.
Even more than social media, games, and trivial back-and-forth communication, your mobile device is about working on-the-go, managing personal finances, and tracking family members, purchases, and private information. It’s like your little black book – but instead of tracking just your love life, it tracks every last piece of your life.
If someone were to snatch this little black book of everything from you, things could end poorly – both professionally and personally. You could suffer from the likes of identity theft and credit card fraud, as well as data loss from a business perspective (such as client records and private emails). So to avoid all of that, here’s how you can keep your phone safe (or, at the very least, safer).
We’re going to start things off simple here. Make sure your phone is locked with a passcode at all times. Think of it as your first line of defense. If someone does steal your phone, you don’t want this person to have easy access to the contents inside it; therefore, you need to make this as difficult as possible for them – even a 4-digit pin code is better than nothing. Plus, with Apple’s fingerprint reader, the process of locking and unlocking your phone should only get easier (but only for the rightful owner of the phone).
When it comes to apps and websites you visit that have access to personal or financial information, you should always use a strong password and you should always log out of the app or site completely when you’re done with it. If you allow your passwords to be “remembered,” then it’s like having a phone with no passcode. Anyone can simply open an app or visit a previously opened tab on your mobile browser and log into your account. They wouldn’t even have to bother trying to crack your password; it’s already there for them.
If someone does steal your phone (or if you simply lose it somewhere), the sooner you can find it, the better off you’ll be. There are a handful of phone-finding apps available that can help you do this rather efficiently. With these apps, you can log into your account from any desktop or another person’s phone and track down your phone via step-by-step GPS directions. If you feel it’s been stolen, you can even turn on your phones peripheral features (like the camera) to scare the thief into ditching your phone. A few options for phone-finding apps would include Lookout, Find My iPhone, and Where’s My Droid.
It is possible to access the contents of your phone without anyone ever physically touching your phone. All it takes is one malicious app or one corrupt link inside an email, and – bam – your phone is hacked, infiltrated, toast, gone baby gone. To avoid this, always confirm the legitimacy of any links and apps prior to any clicking or downloading. For links, you should verify the giver of the link. For apps, you should research the maker and read any available reviews.
You need to be careful with public Wi-Fi connections. Yes, these are life-savers. But at the same time, they can do some serious damage if you aren’t cautious of which ones you’re connecting to. There’s such a thing as fake Wi-Fi hotspots. These connections are established by cyber-criminals, and once you connect to it, a hacker can easily tap into your phone and view everything and anything you do. A good rule of thumb is to stay away from private and financial information when you’re on-the-go and connected to public Wi-Fi. So even if someone does tap into your phone, all they will see is you on your quest to become the ultimate Pokémon Master.