Nowadays, everyone can know something about anyone. That is the power of Internet, social media, and other connectivity platforms. A single click can be your gateway to a person’s private life. But this openness and desire to share and access that much information out there also has its downsides. One of the top concerns that truly applies to everyone is the issue of privacy.
So, how important is privacy and why do we need to protect it? There are two main benefits of privacy. First, it can lead to freedom – the freedom of an individual to live his/her life according to the way he/she wants to. The second benefit of privacy is protection against harm caused by ill-intentioned people. Today, there is a rising incidence of cybercrimes anywhere on the world and the primary target of hackers and intruders are our smartphones.
12 Ways To Protect Your Smartphone From Hackers And Intruders
Advanced technology has transformed smartphones into accessible databases of personal data, photos, videos, bank accounts, e-wallets, emails, and many other sensitive information. When put in the wrong hands, these vital information can be used against us – either to blackmail us or to destroy our reputation. So, how can we protect our smartphones from thousands of hackers and intruders waiting to catch their next victim?
1. Use A Password Manager
This can enable you to shield your passwords, PINs, and other security codes from lurkers because the codes are managed and kept secured. This is much better than just putting your codes in the notes app or writing them on your journal, because they can still be accessed and stolen by anyone.
2. Do Not Use Easy Password Combinations (e.g., “1234”, your birthday)
Easy, obvious codes such as “1234” or your birthday and patterned ones such as “101010” are not secure and are prone to unwanted intrusion and hacking of precious data. If you’re creating a password for your personal or work email, might as well use varying numbers, letters, cases, and symbols. In term of ATM PINs, you should use a patternless number code and it should not be based on your birthday.
3. Do Not Download Apps From Unknown Sources And Do Not Use Unofficial App Stores
Usually, apps that come from unknown sources or are downloaded from unofficial stores are unsafe because they did not undergo certain security tests and standards. Therefore, installing these apps can risk all the personal data stored in your smartphone.
4. Do Not Send Sensitive Data Over Shared Wi-Fi Networks
This type of network can easily be intruded and data being shared or sent via this network can possibly be accessed without your permission.
5. Use VPN
What is VPN? It stands for Virtual Private Network and using this shields or hides your IP address so that everything that you do online cannot be traced virtually.
6. Check For Security Updates And Update Your Applications
If the automatic downloading of security patches or updates is disabled on your smartphone, it’s best that you enable it right now. Security patches and application updates are important because they improve your smartphone’s operation, security, privacy, and overall performance.
7. Use Two-Step Authentication
Using a two-step authentication adds a second layer to your first line of defense. It can be in the form of a One-Time Password (OTP) sent to your smartphone number whenever you purchase using your debit or credit card. If you don’t input the OTP, then the transaction won’t push through.
8. Lock Screen And Applications
If your smartphone is stolen, the thief will have a hard time using or selling the device if it has a lock screen code or if the apps, particularly the notes and settings, are locked.
9. Be Extra Careful When Clicking On Links In SMS Messages
Another modus operandi of hackers nowadays is stealing legit numbers and sending them unsafe or illegal links through SMS. If you see that your phone does not recognize the sender of the SMS and the message looks creepy or spammy, immediately delete the message or take a screenshot and share to your family and friends so you can warn them. You can also report this to the authorities.
10. Log Out Of Applications And Services
We often forget to log out of our email, social media, or other services after we use them and this increases our chances of getting our accounts intruded and hacked. Always remember to click the “Sign Out” or “Log Out” button so that your accounts stay protected and inaccessible to others but yourself.
11. Use Reliable Antivirus Software
A lot of antivirus software are now available for free download and some even have premium paid versions. Using an antivirus software puts another layer of security for your smartphones and computers so that no intruder or hacker can access and steal your data.
12. Encrypt Your Messages
Secure messaging or encrypted messaging protects your messages from getting monitored or accessed by anyone. Today, some of the most trusted messaging apps with encryption functionality are WhatsApp and Telegram. If you want to have a more secure way of sending messages or conversing through texts, this is the best way to go.
Privacy is both a right and a responsibility. Even though there are a handful of laws being amended and implemented to uphold the right to privacy, they are simply not enough to keep ill-intentioned people away. Also, these criminals have higher chances of getting away with what they did because everything they do are done online.
Today, more and more cyber criminals are looking for complacent individuals to victimize. Hence, it will be the best maneuver if you take extra measures to protect your smartphone and secure your privacy. By using these simple methods, intruders and hackers will have no choice but to stay away and leave your invaluable data alone.
I hope you are already using one of these ways to protect yourself from external threats. Actually, it’s not that hard to be safe. Start with one step and gradually implement the rest and your life will be protected from any threats. Know any other ways to protect your smartphone from hackers and criminals? Write this in your comments to help others maintain their security at the highest level.