In recent years, smart phones have become invaluable everyday tools. In addition to enabling us to communicate with friends, family members and professional acquaintances with ease, smart phones serve as many people’s windows to the world. From gaming to scheduling to enjoying popular media, modern-day phones are the most versatile devices most people use throughout their daily lives. However, like any internet-capable device, your smart phone can fall victim to viruses and malicious software in the absence of the proper precautions. To prevent such a fate from befalling your phone, put the following pointers to good use.
Exercise Caution When Downloading Apps
Apps are arguably the best thing about owning a smart phone. From news to social media to video streaming, there’s an app to scratch just about every itch. However, it’s important to realize that not all apps are equally safe. Some apps come preloaded with viruses, malware and/or other things you’ll want to keep off your phone at all costs. Even if they aren’t outright malicious, many apps are designed to record personal information and spy on one’s habits as a consumer. That being the case, it pays to know exactly what you’re downloading. Before you consent to download a certain app, do a little online research and peruse user reviews. Additionally, certain phone-based antivirus software can identify potentially harmful apps before they’re installed. Lastly, carefully read over the specific permissions new apps request before agreeing to grant them access to certain files and data.
Secure Your Home Network
The adage “Safety starts at home” rings particularly true in the case of smart phones. When using their phones at home, most people connect to the internet through their respective home networks. However, if your home network is vulnerable to assorted cyber threats, this doesn’t bode well for your phone. With this in mind, make a point of investing in top-tier network security hardware and software. Security tools like the Smart Device Manager can detect and address an ever-expanding array of viruses, malware and infiltration techniques and provide phone users with tremendous peace of mind.
In addition to the aforementioned tools, altering various router settings can prove helpful in preserving the security of your home network. For starters, take care to change the default log-ins for your router’s administration menu. Secondly, enable WPA2 encryption and change your network’s default SSID. Many default SSIDs reveal the router’s manufacturer and model – information that’s very valuable to seasoned hackers. To nip this issue in the bud, give your home network a boring, unassuming name. If network infiltration is a consistent concern, you may want to consider no longer broadcasting your SSID, as this will prohibit new devices from signing on to the network. However, the next time you wish to connect a new device of your own to the network, you’ll need to temporarily start broadcasting it again.
Promptly Update Your Operating System
As is the case with computers, smart phone operating systems offer users near-constant updates. Since most of these updates contain security components, it’s in your best interest to install them posthaste. In many cases, these updates can be quietly installed in the background without interfering with other tasks being carried out on your phone. Allowing system updates to pile up or refusing to install them altogether makes your phone less safe and opens it up to a host of viruses and malware.
Be Wary of Public Wi-Fi
As a general rule of thumb, security-conscious phone users should avoid public Wi-Fi. While they may be convenient, public networks are often unsecure and serve as hotspots for cybercriminals. If you absolutely insist on using public Wi-Fi, take care to install a dependable virtual private network (VPN) on your phone. Although some free VPNs are reasonably reliable, maximum protection generally requires a paid one.
Many of us can’t even imagine what our lives would look like without smart phones. Even people who were born well before the age of smart phones have a hard time fathoming a world without these handy all-in-one devices. Still, smart phones aren’t without security risks. Although viruses and malware are commonly associated with computers, they can affect smart phone operating systems as well. Luckily, keeping your phone safe from a growing assortment of cyber threats isn’t particularly difficult, costly or time-consuming.