As smartphones are getting smarter and smarter with new technology getting fancier by the day, so do privacy risks, threats and hacking attacks. Protecting your mobile phone is no longer as easy as simply locking your phone, not when all your personal data is stored on the device in your back pocket. To ensure that your information stays private, you will need a little help managing your mobile privacy so that all possible sources of leaks can be plugged from hackers, even the leaks you did not know of.
RISK: Lost or stolen devices can easily put your data straight into the hands of the person who finds your device.
TIP 1: Use your device’s built-in lock options. This security feature should be one of the first to set up on your phone. Even a simple code, lock pattern or fingerprint passcode is better than leaving it open.
TIP 2: Activate your device’s remote wipe function. Not all smartphone platforms will have this capability though, which brings us to Tip 3…
TIP 3: Use an app that can remote wipe. Some can be third-party apps which are free or paid subscriptions which enable you to remote wipe.
TIP 4: Install a locator app. The location is approximate and might not be accurate, but it can help you find your device should it ever get lost.
RISK 1: Wireless sniffer apps are designed to intercept your network data as it is transmitted over the network.
RISK 2: Any of your online activity which is unencrypted is potentially viewable to others.
TIP: Don’t connect to public hotspots. Or if you must, use a VPN.
(Read also: Why You Should Use a VPN on Public WiFi)
RISK: NFC tags can be used to store and transfer information between two NFC-capable electronic devices that are close to each other. However, cybercriminals can also steal the data stored on NFC tags.
TIP 1: Lock your device to turn off the NFC reader.
TIP 2: Use antistatic bags to block NFC.
RISK: Phishing (sending fake emails purporting to be from reputable companies) or vishing (making fake phone calls or leaving messages purporting to be from reputable companies) scams aim to induce users to reveal personal information.
TIP 1: Never respond to unknown senders.
TIP 2: Never give out user credentials over the phone. If you are unsure whether the call is coming from your legit bank or credit card company, you can always put down the call and call back to check directly with your company.
TIP 3: Never (ever!) click unknown links. You are opening a doorway to malware.
TIP 4: Always log out of email accounts.
TIP 5: Don’t save passwords on apps.
RISK 1: Your lost or stolen devices can lead to lost media files such as your photos, videos, music and others.
TIP 1: Regularly back up data. If you do not have a hard-drive to store your media, there are online options such as cloud storage that are either free or subscription-based depending on size.
RISK 1: Sharing your day in and day out activities on social media can be fun. But sharing too much information can lead people to track everything about you.
TIP 1: Social networking sites are a great place to reconnect with friends, but just be careful with how much info you are sharing out.
RISK 1: Your browsing habits online can be translated into personal data used for targeted advertising.
TIP 1: Clear cache and cookies after surfing each time.
TIP 2: Use “do not track” settings if possible, and block the option of allowing Google or your browser to access your location when it asks for it.
TIP 3: Use private browsing/incognito mode when available.
TIP 4: Even on your smartphone, use a VPN when surfing.
RISK 1: Malicious apps will have access to your sensitive data.
TIP 1: Use a secure app, one that has a credible developer you can trust. Run checks on the app before you install any old app on the App Store or Play Store.
RISK 2: Always be wary of free apps! Free apps often have adware that track user data. Whenever an app (or any other thing for that matter) is free, you have to ask yourself, “What’s the catch?”
TIP 1: Check app permissions and opt out of those that are not relevant to the app’s functions.
TIP 2: Disable an app’s unnecessary tracking features. You don’t want every single app in your smartphone knowing exactly where you are in the world, do you?
(Read also: Free Mobile VPNS; Are They Safe?)
RISK: Posting private photos online = no-no.
TIP: Keep accounts private to control who views your page. Quite often, users are not even aware if their social media accounts are on public or private mode. Privacy settings can be tricky, and you never know who is creeping through your page.
RISK 1: Games often post automatic updates on your social media feed for the world to know what you are up to at this moment.
TIP 1: Decide if it is worth the privacy risk. Hide your Candy Crush addiction or that you are playing Coin Master during work hours from your boss by reviewing your app or Facebook settings.
RISK 2: Almost every free gaming app is bloated with ads. Plenty of these data-stealing apps are often spoofs of popular gaming apps. (Remember all those Flappy Bird spin-off apps back when Flappy Bird was the craze?)
TIP 2: Check the app’s authenticity before installing.
RISK: Popular mobile shopping sites also tend to see their fair share of spoofed sites, which are designed to be malicious in some way. stolen data.
TIP 1: Bookmark you trusted shopping sites or frequently visited sites to prevent stolen data from using a mistaken site.
TIP 2: Use the company store’s official mobile app if there is one.
(Based on Trend Micro research)