As the popularity of smartphones rises, we must be ready for the rise in the popularity of smartphone cyber attacks. Many people forget that they are essentially carrying around a mini computer in their pockets; smartphone users can download apps, open mail, surf the internet and even make financial transactions on their phones from basically anywhere in the world. This freedom to connect makes smartphones the perfect target for hackers. In fact, according to RSA, mobile users are at least three times more likely to become victims of phishing attacks than desktop users. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways you can protect your phone from a cyber attack.
Lock your phone
Most smartphones have a locking function that requires a password to gain access. Enabling this function is the easiest way to deter someone from stealing your phone and taking your information.
Be cautious of the unknown
Just like on a computer, you should avoid opening an email from an unknown sender. You should also beware of text messages from people you don’t know – especially if they send you a link or ask you to download something.
Turn off Bluetooth
Switch off Bluetooth whenever you are not using it or when you are speaking/entering sensitive information into your smartphone.
Log-in carefully on public Wi-Fi
It is very easy for hackers to access your phone via public Wi-Fi. If given the choice, use your phone’s 3G or 4G when in public. If that is not possible, avoid doing anything sensitive such as accessing your bank account. To be extra safe, use a different password for things like Facebook and news sites than you use for your bank account or credit card company. This way if a hacker takes your Facebook password in the coffee shop, he can’t access your bank account later.
Use secure sites
When surfing the Internet on public Wi-Fi, stick to using secure sites (“https://” instead of “http://”), especially if you are making a financial transaction.
Be cautious of apps
Phishers have used apps in the past as a way to steal information, so research free apps before you download them and if the app asks for access to parts of your phone that don’t make sense, get rid of it. Also, if you want a banking app, check your bank’s website to make sure that what is offered in the app store is really from your bank.
Wipe the memory
If you are getting a new phone, erase the memory on your old one before getting rid of it. Look up your phone model online to see how to properly do this.
In the end, it comes down to being cautious and smart. If an app seems too good to be true, it probably is. If a website seems sketchy, it probably is. Make sure to take all the above steps, even if they seem over-cautious, because your identity, bank account, and private information are all at risk if you’re not careful.