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Posted on August 22, 2017 by in Identity & Privacy, Personal

You probably lock your front door and your car, but what about your mobile phone? Well, if you aren’t doing it now, you should start taking your mobile device security seriously. Your phone contains passwords, data, and all types of secrets; perfect bait for hackers.

There are no smartphones that are totally secure or “hack-proof,” but there are some that are better than others. In fact, many companies are focusing on creating phones that are more secure and difficult for hackers to access.

However it’s not necessary to go out and buy a special phone to protect your privacy and secure your data. As long as mobile users adhere to these general mobile device security guidelines they should be fine.

Here 15 mobile device security tips to help keep your phone secure:

  1. Always back up your smartphone’s data. When I send a text to a friend and I get a message back “Sorry, I lost my phone and all my contacts, who is this?” I cringe. If my friend had properly backed up his data, he would still have access to all of his contact information.
  2. Don’t ever open any e-mail links, even if you think the sender is familiar. Phishing scams can happen on any device and can lure you into clicking infected links or entering sensitive credentials on spoofed sites.
  3. Use a different password for every account you own, and don’t save them in your browser. Instead, use a password manager to store your login credentials.
  4. When not using them, keep your devices disconnected from the internet.
  5. Disable geo-tagging when posting posts online. Hackers can find out a lot of information, such as where you live and work and other sensitive details about you just by looking at the “exif” data embedded in mobile photos when GPS is enabled.
  6. Speaking of GPS – don’t set a “home” or “work” location any of your navigation apps.
  7. When your phone is connected to public Wi-Fi, avoid visiting websites that contain sensitive or financial information, like your bank or credit card’s website. If you have to do this, use a “virtual private network” or VPN, which encrypt your data.
  8. Set up a remote-wipe feature on your phone. If your phone disappears, you can delete all of the sensitive information from it immediately. Generally, additional features that locate and lock your device are bundled in the same software
  9. Always update your phone when prompted. These updates are meant to protect your device and information.
  10. Lock your device with a password. A lost or stolen device that is not password protected allows anyone to access email and all other critical accounts connected to your mobile device.
  11. Don’t download apps from third-party sites. Only use official apps from Google Play or iTunes.
  12. Use cloud storage that’s encrypted for all of your personal info. Using the cloud is fine. But enable two factor authentication for all critical accounts such as iCloud, PayPal and even Facebook and Twitter.
  13. Go through all apps to see what information they are accessing. You might be surprised what you have agreed to when downloading the app.
  14. Install antivirus software on Android devices. Generally speaking, iPhones don’t have or need antivirus software, but Android devices definitely do.
  15. Do not “Root” your Android or “Jailbreak” your iPhone. This is a process that gives you complete access of your device, but in doing so, removes many of the safeguards that the manufacturers have put in place.

Remember, those who are lazy with their mobile device security become easy targets for hackers and other cyber criminals. Help protect yourself by following these tips.