If you have a smartphone, chances are your entire life is on it. Your smartphone probably contains a comprehensive list of contact information for personal and business contacts. You probably do your banking through a mobile app. You use your smartphone for sending and receiving emails, texts, and calls; taking, sharing, and storing photos of your family, friends, pets, and daily activities; using Facebook and other social media; and browsing the web. You might even use mobile pay apps to handle day-to-day transactions.
Thanks to this, your smartphone holds a wealth of valuable information; even more so than your computer, if you even still have a computer. If it becomes infected with malware, or falls into the wrong hands, your very livelihood, or that of your friends and family, could be at stake. So what do you need to do to stay protected? Keep your smartphone secure with a combination of remote-wiping technology, smart habits, and anti-malware apps.
Be Prepared to Use Remote Wiping
The biggest threat to your personal data posed by a smartphone is that it could fall into nefarious hands — either by being stolen, or simply because you’ve lost it. That’s why remote-wiping capabilities are an important part of any plan to keep your mobile devices secure.
You can’t always prevent the loss or theft of your phone, but a remote wipe can protect your information in the event that either of those things happens. According to AV-Test CEO Andreas Marx, a good mobile security solution offers more than just antivirus. While malware protection is important, a security solution should also offer user-friendly data backup and remote wiping as a last line of defense for your data if your phone is ever stolen or lost. Any good mobile security app should offer you the ability to easily wipe all data from your phone remotely.
Cultivate Smart Habits
Smart habits are a big part of internet security, because human beings remain the weakest point in most devices’ cyberdefenses. Fortunately, when it comes to mobile devices, most malware still has to be actually downloaded and installed by the user. Of course, creators of malware know this, and they’re very adept at using social engineering tricks to fool users into downloading malicious programs. Most malware apps will act perfectly fine for the first little while, so that when your phone starts acting up, you won’t make the connection between the malicious download and the malfunction.
The best way to protect your smartphone from malware is to be smart about your use. Be wary of email phishing scams and cracked third-party apps. Try not to follow links if you’re not sure where they go. Don’t download random free apps from random websites. Download apps only from trusted sources, like the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. Malicious apps might still find their way into trusted markets like the Google Play Store, but they’re rarer there, thanks to protections put in place to shield users from harmful software.
Use Antivirus Software
Malware creators can use malicious apps to steal data from your smartphone, but a good mobile antivirus can protect you from any malware you might inadvertently download, whether from trusted marketplaces or from the web. As smartphones and other mobile devices become more popular, malware creators have more incentive to create malware, and the threats are getting more sophisticated. Recently, malware writers have begun targeting the mobile web with infected and compromised websites that could infect a smartphone with malware in the course of your regular browsing. And while Android users are more vulnerable — malware writers can write code for Android apps on any PC, whereas they need a Mac to write code for iPhones — that doesn’t mean that Apple users are safe. It just means that fewer people are writing viruses for those devices.
If you have a smartphone, you need to take steps to protect it — and the data on it — from criminals. Make sure your phone or other mobile device is protected with antivirus software. If your phone is lost or stolen, or becomes infected with malware, you’ll be glad you took precautions to protect your device and the precious data it contains.