From account passwords and credit card numbers to Singpass and CPF details, our smartphones contain a wealth of personal data. If the credentials in your phone land into the wrong hands, it may lead to identity theft and allow the hacker access to your banking and government services.
How do you protect your smartphone from getting hacked? There are a number of ways to protect your phone from getting hacked. Here are some.
Top tips to protect your smartphone from getting hacked
- Always use secure Wi-Fi
If you’re outside and need to connect to the internet, free public Wi-Fi is always good. However, most of these may not be secure. Public Wi-Fi networks are more susceptible to being hacked as they are not secure and unencrypted, leaving you open to hackers in the vicinity.
Those tourist squares with readily available free public Wi-Fi? There may even be unauthorised networks with similar sounding names to trick you into connecting to them instead of the official ones.
If you do need to use a public Wi-Fi, make sure you have a VPN to protect you and don’t access accounts that may reveal sensitive information such as banking, email and social media.
- Download and update your apps from official app stores
There are a ton of mobile apps out there for a variety of different functions. One way to protect your phone from being hacked is making sure to only download and install your apps only from the official Apple App and Google Play stores. This ensures that no one else can gain unauthorised access to your personal data through the app.
Also make sure that you have the latest updates for your phone apps as well. App developers often release security patches and bug fixes to keep their apps secure in response to ever evolving threats and vulnerabilities.
For that matter, it’s ideal to also make sure your phone system is up to date. Don’t forget to delete old apps that you rarely use anymore!
- Use official chargers — Your own, preferably
Try not to charge your phone in public areas, like restaurants and libraries. If you’re in a place where you have to charge your phone, don’t just plug it into any outlet that has an open port.
This can be dangerous because hackers can gain access to the device and steal your data through these ports. The practice is known as “juice jacking” where hackers can take advantage of the USB port where you’re charging your phone to copy your data or install malware.
Use an official charger instead, and preferably your own one.
- Never jailbreak your device
When you jailbreak your device, you remove the original settings that the phone comes with, allowing you the freedom to install whatever apps you want. But doing so also removes a lot of the security settings that it comes with, thus making it more vulnerable to a host of viruses, malware, spyware and cyberattacks.
Hackers can also more likely take over the whole phone if it’s jailbroken, as the entire operating system is unstable.
- Don’t click on phishing links
The recent number of scams have been rather alarming and caused many people to lose their hard earned savings.
That’s because when you click on a non-official phishing link, it takes you to a fake website where hackers can access whatever personal data and information you transmit over the site.
Protect your phone by never clicking on links in emails or texts from people who aren’t in your contact list. As long as the email or sender looks suspicious, uses terrible English or says that you’ve won something that sounds too good to be true, delete the message immediately.
- Regularly delete browsing history, cache, cookies
Notice how ads about certain things appear almost immediately across your browsers and social media sites after you were searching for them? Or perhaps you didn’t even search for a particular item.
That’s because there are tons of third-party cookies tracking your whereabouts on the web, such as your browsing history, purchases you make, IP address and location. All these create a digital profile of you which, when used legally and appropriately for marketing purposes, can enhance your web browsing experience.
However, hackers can easily gain access to such cookies that store your information and in turn, they gain access to your personal data. To prevent this, always clear your browsing history, cache and cookies – or set your browser to automatically clear them when you close it.
Better yet, install a browser that doesn’t track you! DuckDuckGo is a proprietary browser that does not track the sites you visit and blocks any trackers on the websites you visit. It is currently available on iOS and Android devices but it also has a browser extension for when you’re on your laptop.
- Simply keep your phone by your side at all times
Sounds like a no-brainer right? A simple, yet effective practice can prevent your phone and personal data from being stolen.
This applies when you’re outside in a public area such as restaurants, parks, libraries, offices, or on public transport. We tend to take for granted the safety of Singapore and often leave our phones on tables next to us and not pay attention, leaving our phones easy targets for thieves.
To reduce the risk of someone gaining access to your information, enable two-factor authentication, face or thumbprint recognition and set a pin.
Bonus Tip: Stay protected with M1 Security Suite
We’re hoping these tips will help you prevent viruses, spywares and other cybersecurity threats from harming your smart devices. But we’re all human and we make mistakes.
For total peace-of-mind, we need to stay one step ahead of hackers. Sign up for the M1 Security Suite powered by Trend Micro and get the latest in cloud protection technology for you and your family.
For just $1.50 per month, we’ll protect your Android devices (OS 4.1 or higher) against loss, personal data theft, viruses, other potential cyber threats like phishing scams and malicious ransomware threats while boosting the performance of your devices! Have one less thing to worry about with M1’s Security Suite.
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