8 Essential Tips for Using a Smartphone Safely | Discoverflow | Jamaica

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8 Essential Tips for Using a Smartphone Safely

These days, almost everybody has a smartphone – and lots of people use their smartphones every day without giving much thought to whether or not they are safe. Keeping your phone protected is something that most smartphone owners know is important, but how do you actually do this? With the prominence of smartphones in our daily lives on the rise, keeping your mobile secure has become an unavoidable topic. If you’ve ever done any research into mobile security, then you have probably seen a lot of information on smartphone safety including using strong passwords, changing passwords regularly, keeping apps updated, and being vigilant about clicking links. No matter what smartphone you have, here are some top tips for using it safely and keeping it as secure as possible.



Precautions While Using Mobile Phones - Keep Your Screen Locked


The first tip might seem like an obvious one, but you might be surprised as to how many people forget to lock their phones. There are several different methods for locking your phone when it is not in use, and you can even download separate apps to lock your phone securely. If your device has a fingerprint scanner, this is the most secure method to use – even more secure than FaceID, since fingerprints are unique to every individual and different on each finger, so nobody else is getting into your phone without your chosen finger. If you don’t have the latest cell phone protection methods on your device, then PIN codes, passwords, and unlock patterns are a good option. However, be careful not to use ones that are easy to guess, like drawing a square to unlock your phone or using your year of birth as a PIN.



How to Keep Your Smartphone Safe by Updating Software?


Keeping your phone safe involves more than just using fingerprint ID or putting a PIN code on your phone. Hackers often rely on vulnerabilities in mobile operating systems, especially if you have an Android phone – Androids have the most hacks compared to any other platform. To keep ahead of the hackers and keep your phone secure, constant updates are needed. However, many people turn automatic updates off and some manufacturers deliberately make it so that older models don’t support the latest operating systems in order to encourage people to continue buying new phones. If you want to stay as secure as possible, then turning on automatic OS updates is essential. Keep track of any updates, especially if you have an Android phone, as these are likely to contain important security patches that will make your phone less vulnerable to hackers.



Safe Tricks for Android – Strong Passwords


Along with the passcode or PIN that you use to unlock the device itself, you should also think about the passwords that you use to get into the various apps and accounts that you use on your smartphone. Chances are that you use a lot of apps that might contain personal or sensitive information on your phone like a mobile banking app, that you would not want anybody else to get access to. Being extra careful with your passwords is crucial to mobile safety. However, lots of people don’t realize just how important this is, and instead choose passwords that are easy for them to guess such as names of their pets, family members, or even their own names. However, if it is easy for you to remember, then it will also be easy for cybercriminals to guess. Make sure that your passwords include lower- and upper-case characters, numbers, and symbols. You may want to use a smartphone password manager to make things easier.

Along with setting strong passwords, it’s also important to avoid using the same password for everything. Even if you’re using a really strong password for everything, all it takes is for that one to be cracked for a hacker to get access to all your accounts. If you can’t help but use the same passwords for some accounts, then make sure that at the very least, your passwords for things like online banking, email, and other important accounts are unique.



How to Use Smartphone Safely When Downloading Apps?


These days there is no shortage of choice when it comes to the apps that you can download to your phone. However, apps can be a huge source of malware and viruses for your phone, and even a way in for hackers to access it remotely if you are not careful. Because of this, it is important to only ever download apps from trusted sources. If you have an iPhone, then you will only be able to download apps from the App Store, which have all been vetted for security issues. Android users should stick to using the Google Play Store. Although Android does offer more flexibility in terms of the apps that you can download to your phone, getting apps from unauthorized sources could be setting yourself up for a world of trouble, so it is always better to be safe than sorry. Both Apple and Google have strict rules in place when it comes to what is allowed on their app stores.


Use an Antivirus App


Antivirus isn’t just for your laptop or PC – there are several mobile phone security apps that can be used on all operating systems including iOS, Android, and Windows Mobile. It’s definitely worth using one, although with so many options available, it can get a bit overwhelming. It’s a good idea to choose a reputable, high-quality one since many of the cheaper options might slow your device down. A good app is only likely to slow the device down when it’s performing a deep scan. An antivirus solution on your phone will make sure that it is safe from malware files or hacking attempts even if you try to download damaging apps or visit a suspicious site on your browser. However, you should still be careful as there will sometimes be things that can slip through the cracks no matter what app you use. To make sure that you are getting the best protection, you should turn on automatic updates for your antivirus app.


Be Careful When Using Public Wi-Fi


Public Wi-Fi can be a convenient way to get a Wi-Fi connection when you are out and about and save your cellular data. However, while it is often free and is becoming more and more widely available in public places, it’s important to always be careful when you are using public Wi-Fi. This is because these networks are often not very secure, meaning that hackers can easily access your device through the connection. If you use public Wi-Fi a lot, a VPN is a great solution. Using a VPN app on your phone can improve your mobile security in a situation where you need to get online and the only option you have is a public Wi-Fi network. The VPN will connect to an external server and mask your IP, which hides the true location of the device and encrypts your online activity.



Understand the Risks of Using Bluetooth


Bluetooth can really come in handy for sending files, connecting to your car radio, and more – but many people do not understand the risks that can come with using Bluetooth. If you don’t use this device-pairing protocol responsibly, it can also become a fairly easy way for cybercriminals to get into your phone. If using Bluetooth, make sure that your device is not discoverable. You should turn Bluetooth off when you are not using it – not only will this protect your safety, but it can also save battery life on your phone. When sending files or pairing, always make sure that you recognize the device that you are pairing with. Don’t accept any random requests for a Bluetooth connection and try to only keep the connection for the time that is necessary.



Enable Remote Data Wiping


No matter what kind of smartphone you have, you should enable remote data wiping as a priority when setting up your phone. You can do this with Android Device Manager, Find My Mobile, or Find My iPhone. If your device is stolen, there’s not much that you can do about the data that is stored on it if you do not have this feature turned on – you just need to hope that the thief has to wipe the device somehow before they can get access to it. When you use these services and enable remote data wiping, you can access certain settings if you do not have your phone. In some cases, you may also be able to track the location of the phone and get it back if it is switched on and connected to a mobile network. While you won’t be able to trace your phone if it’s turned off or disconnected, you can back it up and then wipe it remotely, so that your information doesn’t end up in the wrong hands.

With smartphone use becoming an essential part of our everyday lives, knowing how to use one safely has never been more important.