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Make Your Smartphone Safer in Five Easy Steps

If you’re an Apple fan and an iPhone user, your days of bragging how its security features are superior to Android are numbered.

According to ComScore’s Smartphone Subscriber Market Share report, almost 95% of Americans either the Android or the iOS operating system. And while they are the two most popular Oss out there, it doesn’t mean that both of them don’t have a good number of vulnerabilities.


Every OS has its Weaknesses

When it comes to Android, its major selling point – customizability - is also its Achilles heel. For one, customizability means that its user can download applications from basically anywhere, which increases the risk of a virus infection via malware, which can go through sensitive information, send spam and even freeze the smartphone until the owner pays up a ransom.

Despite iPhone’s reputation as the safest device on the market, recently we’ve seen a lot of hackers try to dispute that claim. For instance, two years ago, researchers discovered a malicious program called WireLurker, which attacks iOS-powered devices trough a compromised PC. This indicates that cybercriminals aren’t only focusing on mobile devices, but that Apple may represent as good a piece of game as Microsoft very, very soon.

Smaller Market Share-Holders

So, you might be asking yourself, what about Black Berry and Windows Phone, are they exposed to the same kind of risk. Seeing how both operating systems hold less than 6% of the market share combined, they simply don’t attract the same kind of attention from cybercriminals.
But as our phones slowly become our go-to devices for everything from business to shopping, it highly likely that the device in your hand – no matter what OS you’re using – will become a target for cybercriminals from all across the world. So in order to help you protect that tiny device, here are five simple steps you can take to ensure the safety of your device, both online and offline.

Smartphone Protection:

Step 1 – Log Out after Shopping Online

Using operations such as online banking should be as safe on your mobile device as it is on your desktop computer. Assuming, of course, that the bank you’re doing business with has implemented appropriate security measures.
But the most important thing you need to remember is to always log out when you’re done. This will prevent any cybercriminals from looking at your personal financial info if your device gets stolen or hacked. And the same goes for every shopping website where you need to input your credit card data.
A wise thing to do would be to use your bank’s official application, because most of these apps are encrypted, and help your protect your data, even if the network you’re using is compromised. But just make sure that you’re using a real banking app and not a virus-infected copy.

Step 2 – Avoid Public Hotspots

If you’re using a hotspot that requires a password to log into, then you don’t have to worry about anything. But if you connect to password-free, public Wi-Fi, then you might be in trouble.
You see, unprotected networks like these enable cybercriminals to look all of your web traffic over the network – and this includes all of your passwords and web credentials.
Therefore, if you’re a kind of person who uses public networks a lot, you need to have proper protection. Luckily, these days you can easily find a VPN that will help you keep all of your data safe, by encrypting all of your incoming and outgoing traffic. You can even easily find a great VPN for your iPhone in a matter of minutes – you just need to know where to look.

Step 3 – Set a Password

While having a password seems too obvious at this point, you’d be surprised to know just how many people still don’t use this basic for of protection.
Recently, Lookout conducted a study, which revealed that around 0.25% of Android-powered phones in America have some kind of spyware, designed to target a specific person. And while the percentage might seem low at first, you have to realize that this means tens of thousands of users out there have their messages and phone calls monitored by a cybercriminal.
The bottom line is, no matter what phone you’re using, a password should be your first line of defense against some of the most basic security issues like losing your device, spyware and ransomware. Just as long as you don’t pick something like “123456789” as your password, your phone will definitely be safe.

Step 4 – Always Check the Permissions

Again, if you look at that Lookout report, you’ll see that when it comes to smartphone apps, adware is the most common security risk. Even though ads help app designers make money, certain applications contain adware that’s designed to mine your data and monitor your habits without your consent.
This means before you download a certain app, you should go through what permissions it requests from users. For example, if your favorite game requires your call history and contact list to function, it’s better to abort the download, and look for a new game.

Step 5 – Install a Security App

Last but not least, if you don’t know what the problem with your phone is, it would be smart to download a security app like Avast Mobile Security (it’s available for both Android and iOS devices) and scan every app you’ve ever installed on your device. If the app detects any spyware, adware or malware, it will immediately remove it, and keep it clean.



Some of these apps also allow you to locate your device if you lose it.
Once the device is reported missing, the app will send a message in case someone’s found it, sound an alarm, back up all your data, including contact, messages and photos online and remotely erase everything you have stored on your device.

Conclusion

The most obvious thing you can do is to regularly download updates for your smartphone of course. These updates are there to protect your device, and ignoring them will only leave you with a broken, virus-infested device. By Michael Conley.


About Author :  Michael Conley
In addition to being one of the best writers at 9to5alternatives.com, Michael is also one of the finest digital security specialists around. When he’s not hard at work, you’ll find him watching old B-movies or playing a game of pool.



  

Shrey Kapoor is a Tech-Enthusiast, Harvard certified Cyber Security and Cyber Forensics Expert. He Founder Techphlie.com, which is one of the India's Top Tech News Website. Even Forbes and many other renowned publishers took his articles reference. Shrey is a Technology analyst, strategic thinker and creative writer who is passionate to deliver the best, latest possible Tech-News to his followers and subscribers. He completed his masters in Artificial Intelligence & Robotics, certified in IPR, T.Q.M. & ISO 9001:2008 In Quality Management Systems.

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