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How to Keep Your Phone Secure

7 Minute Read

You’re probably in the loop about keeping your home secure and even your computer—but what about your mobile phone? Is that even something you need to worry with? Yes! According to Symantec, the number of new malware viruses on mobile increased by 54% in 2017.(1) So, how do you keep your phone secure? We’ll show you.

How do you keep your phone secure?

For iPhone Users:

Use a full password instead of a passcode

Did you know you can actually use a password to lock your phone? Sure, it’s easier to just punch in a few numbers to quickly open your phone—but using a password will give you a better chance at keeping your phone secure. Just go to “Settings,” then “Touch ID & Passcode” to make the change.

Install updates on your phone

We’ve all been guilty of ignoring our phone’s notifications begging us to update to the latest software. If you’re a creature of habit, you probably like what you already have and aren’t eager to rock the boat. But if you aren’t installing the latest updates on your phone, you could be leaving yourself wide open to security threats.

And if you have an Apple Watch, it’s basically an extension of your phone. Make sure you take the same precautions to keep it safe!

For Android:

Use two-factor authentication

You’ll need to log in to your Google account to enable this, but it’s pretty simple. Go to “Settings,” select “using 2-step verification,” and follow the prompts from there.

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Use anti-virus software

Anti-virus protection isn’t just for your computer—it’s for your Android phone as well. And while some people shrug it off, you really do need it if you want to keep your phone secure. Google Play Protect will cover the basics of security on your phone, but adding another layer of protection can help keep your phone safe from aggressive security threats like malware. Look into trusted companies like Norton who offer mobile security at both free and premium options.

If you don’t use an app, get rid of it

Each app on your phone contains its own batch of potential security issues. And many apps now want access to things like your contacts, photos, GPS location, and even your microphone. It’s a little creepy when you stop and think about it, right? If you’re not using the app, just go ahead and delete it. The fewer apps on your phone, the less open you are to potential attacks.

How do you back up your phone?

It’s an oldie but goodie—back up your phone to your computer. The process is easy and is pretty much the same whether you have a PC or Apple computer. But if you’re an Android user with an Apple computer (do those even exist?), you’ll need to download the Android File Transfer app first.

You want to always back up your phone for plenty of reasons—no one wants to lose those treasured baby or puppy pictures, after all! But the most important reason? If something happens to your phone, you want to be able to wipe it completely and still have all your documents, data and personal information saved somewhere else.

Of course, iPhone and Android users both have seamless options when it comes to using the cloud to store backups. With Apple, all you have to do is back up your phone with iCloud. For Android, you’re covered with Google Drive.

Pro tip: Whether you have an Android or iPhone, Google Photos is a great tool for backing up all of those priceless photos and videos you take. It automatically backs up everything you capture to the cloud. And the best part is, you’ll never run out of storage space!

What do you do if you lose your phone?

For iPhone Users:

Most iPhones come with the “Find My iPhone” feature. If you enable this, you can figure out where your iPhone is if you misplaced it. If you find out your phone has been stolen, then you need to take steps to wipe it clean of your personal information. More on this later.

For Android Users:

Like the iPhone, Android devices have a “Find My Device” option available. All you have to do is visit android.com/find and sign in with your Google account. If you think there’s a chance you’ve just misplaced your phone, you can remotely tell the phone to ring even if it’s set to vibrate or silent.

How do you wipe your phone remotely?

For iPhone Users:

If you have the “erase data” feature enabled, your iPhone will wipe everything from it after 10 unsuccessful passcode attempts. That’s a great option to enable for your own peace of mind, but maybe not the best idea if your 4-year-old likes to press buttons while your phone’s locked.

Remember that handy little Find My iPhone feature? You can also use that to remotely wipe your iPhone at any time. And if you have Family Sharing enabled, you can remotely wipe the phone of any family member too.

For Android Users:

Similar to iPhone, you can use their handy Find My Device feature to remotely wipe all the personal information on your Android phone. It’s as simple as that!

Which phone is more secure: iPhone or Android?

Okay, we’re not going to chime in on the heated Apple vs. Android debate. To each their own! But when it comes to security, there are a couple of things you should keep in mind.

According to Symantec, most Android users leave themselves open to risk by not updating their phones as often as they should—only 20% of Android devices are updated to the current operating systems compared to 77% of iOS users.(2)

And overall, more malware is targeted at Android devices than iPhones. In 2015, 97% of all mobile malware was specifically made for Android phones.(3) This doesn’t mean iPhones are immune to being hacked, but they are harder targets to hit.

Like we said before: if you really want to keep your phone secure, you have to stay on top of installing the updates.

Should you connect to free Wi-Fi?

Be selective about the open Wi-Fi networks you connect to on your phone. Unsecured, public Wi-Fi is exactly that—unsecured. And everyone sitting around you at your local coffee spot is using that same unsecured network. If they wanted to, they could gain access to your information pretty easily.

Free internet while you wait in line for your cappuccino is a nice perk, but it’s not worth putting yourself at risk of identity theft.

If you just have to catch up on your social media while you pass the time, it’s always better to stick with your phone’s own internet connection. Yes, that means you’re using up your data—but isn’t it better than making yourself a potential target for hackers?

One Last Thing

Whatever you do, don’t click on suspicious or unusual links sent to you in an email, text message or app. When in doubt, just don’t click on it! And only download apps from your phone’s primary app store.

Don’t let hackers use your phone to steal your personal information. Zander’s Identity Theft Protection plan monitors and alerts you when your information is at risk, and provides complete recovery services if you ever become a victim.

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