How to Keep Your Mobile Devices Secure: Steps to Prevent Cyber Crime
In today’s world, where technology has become part and parcel of our daily lives, cyber crime has become more sophisticated, costing businesses and individuals an estimated $114 billion annually. Personal and confidential information is becoming more accessible to hackers, with about one million computers getting hacked every day. However, most businesses and individuals have taken steps to protect their computers, leading to a shift toward reliance on mobile devices.
As attacks on smartphones, tablets, and laptops increase, it’s essential to secure information on these devices to defend against being robbed in cyberspace. Here are some steps to take to safeguard your digital assets and protect your mobile devices against cyber attacks.
Use Solid Passwords
Employing strong passwords is perhaps the single most important step you can take to secure your mobile devices. Shockingly, many people still ignore this vital advice, sticking to passwords consisting only of letters, numbers, or the minimum character count of six, making them very weak. For instance, an analysis from a phishing scheme that leaked the accounts and passwords of 10,000 Hotmail users showed that 42% used passwords consisting only of letters, 19% used only numbers, and 22% used the minimum character count of six, making them very weak.
To keep your data safe, come with passwords consisting of combinations of letters, numbers, and special characters, adding up to at least eight characters. Do not reuse passwords for different accounts and devices. Use different passwords that can help you remember, such as acronyms and dates that hold meaning to you. If you run out of ideas, programs like RoboForm can help you generate and store secure passwords.
Implement Two-Step Verification
Two-step verification adds an extra layer of security to your sign-in process, requiring knowledge of something (a password) and having something (a physical object) to access your information. For instance, a debit card holder needs to possess the physical card and know the PIN number to use it. In the same vein, an online entity might ask for a password and send a unique code to your phone once it’s verified. If a hacker discovers your password, they won’t be able to access your data with just that knowledge.
Beware of Public Wireless Networks
While personal, encrypted network systems are the most secure way to use wireless networks, you may need to work or access accounts while outside your home at some point. Some public Wi-Fi networks are secure, such as those offered in hotels, coffee shops, and airports, but you cannot always count on it. If a network requires a code in order to gain internet access, it’s probably secure, but a lot of public places have open access. Suppose you decide to use public networks and are unsure whether they’re encrypted. In that case, you must follow the tips below to remain secure while using them:
– Look for “https” – If you’re inputting any personal information or password to log in to a website, only use sites with URLs starting with “https,” which means that they encrypt – or scramble – the combination of characters you send off, protecting your sensitive data from potential hackers.
– Change up your usernames and passwords – Don’t use the same sign-in information for multiple sites, particularly when accessing them on a public network. This way, if you are hacked, the attacker cannot easily get into all your accounts.
– Avoid online banking – To be on the safe side, do save your banking and bill paying for your private home or network, since other users on a public network can steal your financial information.
Watch Your Apps
Free apps are ubiquitous, but be careful when deciding to download them. Not all developer guidelines are strict, so apps can be unreliable and unsecure, transmitting your data to third parties. Ensure that you’re familiar with the app developer before you download and go through other users’ comments and reviews.
Lookout is a useful mobile app that can protect your phone from malicious apps and fraudulent links, as well as back up your data in case of loss.
Install Antivirus Software
While many computer users install antivirus software, not many mobile users equip their devices with it, though much of the same information is carried on them. Hackers commonly install viruses on devices to gain private information from them. Here are some excellent mobile security apps to install on your phone.
It’s important to keep all of your software updated, as old versions can lose their effectiveness and keep you from getting all the available benefits and features from upgrades.
Employ a remote swipe to erase all your sensitive data, including contacts, email, music, photos, etc., from your device if it’s physically stolen.
In conclusion, the key to remaining secure in cyberspace is to be consistent and diligent in your safety measures, which is easy to do with all the available software and apps to aid you. Take the first steps today, manage your information, and stay updated.