Tips to protect your mobile devices
There is no secret that nowadays the technology we use can make us a target to cyber-attacks if we do not have basic knowledge on how to properly protect against these. No manual comes with a phone to teach us how to securely use our mobile devices.
As time passed, in the last few years people adopted technology, making part of their lives even from an early age. Taking the pandemic into consideration, even kids did not use the technology only as a source of entertainment, but also to learn and attend their school classes.
This huge rate of adoption of mobile devices in our lives also came up with huge risks if we do not know how to control our behavior on the internet. Mobile devices are vulnerable to online threats and are also susceptible to physical attacks due to their portability. Common security threats include malware specifically designed for mobile devices like worms and spyware, phishing, unauthorized access, and theft. We have gathered some useful tips that will help you minimize the risk of being a victim of such threats.
- Use strong passwords/biometrics
Strong passwords combined with biometric features, such as fingerprint authenticators, make unauthorized access nearly impossible. It is recommended to create passwords with eight or more characters long and contain alphanumeric characters and allow two-factor authentication if your devices allow it.
Be careful to not allow other apps to store your passwords just like the browser does use the ‘remember me’ feature. It should be avoided at all costs since it only increases the chances of your security codes getting stolen. It is also recommended to change your passwords from time to time (at least every three months).
2. Utilize VPN
If you are not sure about the security of the network you are connected to, using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) connection client is mandatory. It allows you to connect to a network securely and all the network activity you do on the public Wi-Fi will be protected.
Using a VPN is also useful when accessing not secure sites (non-HTTPS), which are visible to anyone who knows how to exploit this kind of vulnerability. These sites are vulnerable to MITM attacks (Man-in-the-middle), which create a way to eavesdropping and password sniffing.
3. Make sure the network you are connected to is protected
In case you cannot use your network to connect to the internet, you have to be very cautious about which network you are accessing because most Wi-Fi points are not encrypted and an attacker may sniff the traffic on the network and get your passwords or other sensitive information.
To protect against Wi-Fi hacking, use applications that secure your connection (VPN) or at least tell you the status of the Wi-Fi you are connected to. WPA (Wi-Fi Protected Access) is more secure compared to WEP (Wired Equivalent Privacy).
Also, make sure your Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connection is not set to automatically connect to any nearby device, because recently on all the devices the default option is set to auto. It also saves your battery and helps you avoid automatic connection to unsafe networks or devices.
4. Encrypt your device
Most mobile devices come with a built-in encryption feature. This feature makes the data unreadable if you do not know the decryption key. This is important in case your devices get stolen because your data will not be accessible by other people.
5. Install an antivirus application
The files and applications you download or install might contain malicious code and once accessed, this code could compromise your device. To avoid that, installing a strong antivirus application will increase your security.
Some antivirus applications also have specific security features like erasing your data if you lose your device, tracking and blocking possible callers who might be a threat and telling you if an application or file is safe or not and clearing your browsing history, and delete cookies (which are small tokes that store your sensitive information which might be leaked).
6. Update your device to the latest version
People might not understand how mandatory is to keep your devices updated to the last software version (also your apps you use, not only the operating system), but public exploits of the vulnerabilities to old software versions are available on the internet and many of these exploits help an attacker to bypass the security of your device.
Major mobile device firmware companies release constant security updates to patch known vulnerabilities on your device.
OTHER THINGS TO CONSIDER
– Avoid turning on autofill: some websites and apps will automatically fill in your credentials when vising them
– Log out: after using applications, especially those that are linked to one another, ensure that you log off each time you are done using them
– Use only trusted applications: it is recommended to download your files and applications only from secure sources, such as Apple’s App Store, Android’s PlayStore, and other such accredited sources.
Keeping your mobile device and your internet surfing secure is not a piece of cake, indeed, but it should be everybody’s priority. Smartphones are pocket-sized computers that contain and hold all your important data and personal information. Taking these mobile security tips into consideration will help you protect your device and personal information.