How to Safeguard Your Phone Against Cybersecurity Threats

Steps to follow to safeguard your phone from cybersecurity threats
How to Safeguard Your Phone Against Cybersecurity Threats

Today,  smartphones have become an integral part of our existence, but they also  became security threats. From messages, emails, pictures, documents, banking information, health records, phone numbers, etc. our phones hold important data that can be misused. It means that it is essential to study all the resources and apply the safest measures to be protected from virus penetration. Here are the procedures you need to follow in order to protect your phone from cyber attacks.

1. Keep Your Software Updated

While this may look like an obvious remedy, it is one of the most effective approaches towards ensuring that the phone is secure. The threats online are constantly updating and for you to be safe both in your operating system (OS) and the apps that you use, they need to be updated. Companies are often releasing feature updates that address existing weak areas in the security systems and cover newly discovered vulnerabilities.

How to Update:

- iOS: Then you should see Software Update among the options where you’ll have to go to Settings > General > Software Update.

- Android: Select ‘Settings’ tab on your smart phone, then select ‘System’, then ‘Advanced’ and finally tap the ‘System Update’.

Since the newer versions often contain security patches for any identified vulnerabilities, make sure the automatic updates are on to get such updates as soon as they are released.

2. Use Strong and Unique Passwords

The difference is, a password is the first barrier of security against the hackers and crackers out there. Do not use any password used to create an account in the past year like password, address, phone number or date of birth as your password instead, combine letters, numbers, and symbols. Also, avoid using the same password for your accounts, for that matter do not use password hints for your accounts.

 Password Management:

This is where you need to come up with better password that are difficult to guess, consider using a good password generator to help you with creating new complex passwords, in addition, you should store all your passwords securely, go for a trusted password manager.

3. Enable Two-Factor Authentication (2FA)

Two-factor authentication means that in addition to the usual password or a PIN code, the user also has to enter a one-time code sent to a phone, for example, or a confirmation code from an application. This goes a long way in minimizing cases of intrusion since the main password seen by the user is randomized and contains 8 characters.

Setting Up 2FA:

- Google Accounts: As a next step, you should locate your Google via all accounts, > security > 2-Step Verification.

- Apple ID: Navigate to Setting menu, and select the option named after your nickname, then move further to Password & Security option and find the button Turn On Two-Factor Authentication.

4. Install Security Software

Security apps are beneficial to phone users as they limit the options of malware attacking the phone, limit the options of phishing attacks on the phone, and offer protection against other cyber threats. There is a range of popular and reliable antivirus software providers that also give options for mobile devices.

Recommended Security Apps:

- For iOS:  McAfee Mobile Security

- For Android:  Avast Mobile Security and Bitdefender Mobile Security respectively

 5. Be Cautious with Apps

Avoid downloading apps that are not available in the official app store such as Google Play store for androids and the apple store for iOS devices. The last disadvantage is having a third-party store, sometimes, the malware will just install from a store that does not have security precautions as thorough as those of Apple. Furthermore, to increase the overall security, be careful with permissions you granted to an app and use only those permissions which are really needed for an app to work.

App Permissions:

Should periodically check the permissions granted and if there are any that are not needed, they should be removed. This is normally done in a settings or control panel, often found under apps or application manager.

6. Use a VPN

VPNs act as a secure point where your internet connection becomes encrypted to allow for safer connection especially on open networks. So, it conceals your IP address and makes certain that your operations on the web are private.

Choosing a VPN:

When selecting a VPN, it is recommended to choose a legitimate VPN service provider such as NordVPN, ExpressVPN, or CyberGhost. When selecting the VPN, you need to make sure that it has good encryption features installed and operates under a no logging policy.

7. Enabling Find My Phone:

iOS and Android have default functionalities that will help you in case you have lost your phone, bypassed, or stolen, in that you can track it, lock it or even erase the entire phone completely.

- iOS: Open the Settings app on your iPhone > Click the Apple ID Control Center > Scroll down and tap on the option that says Find My > Click on the option that says Find My [Your Name].

- Android: Select settings on your Android phone, tap on security then, locate and select ‘Find My Device’.

8. Can be sure that they will be recipients of phishing scams at some point of their lifestyles.

Phishing is a common form of cyber scam that cause users provide their personal information willingly through appearance of agreeing to a legitimate message. These can arrive through email, sensationalized messages, or social media channels.

Spot Phishing:

- Examine for spelling captions that seem to be misspelled or for links that appear questionable.

- Check the authenticity of the sender details especially the email address.

- Do not tap links or download files from sources that you cannot affiliate with.

9. Encrypt Your Phone

Encryption means that your data is changed into a form that only the designated password can ensure gets access. For the two systems, iOS and Android, both have included encryption properties that, when employed, assure you the security and prevention of outsiders to access your data.

Enabling Encryption:

- iOS: This is something that happens automatically any time you decide to set a passcode on your device hence the encryption.

- Android: Some of the possible solutions are as follows: The user should open Settings and go to Security, then Encryption & credentials, and then choose Encrypt phone.

10. It is advisable to back up your data comprehensively for daily use as this will help to avoid circumstances where data is lost due to various reasons such as viruses.

The backup must have occurred regularly so that you do not lose your data in case of a cyber-attack, loss or realization of your phone has been damaged. In cloud services, if customers cannot be won over to the program, then at least the work done should be backed up either through cloud services or local storage means to avoid cases of loss for the owners.

Backup Options:

- iOS: You have to use iCloud or iTunes in order to back up your iPhone.

- Android: Some of the recommended backup solutions include Google drive or the other third-party applications such as G Cloud Backup.

11. Secure Your Network

All the companies know that the security of their phone companies depends on the network of the communication. Take necessary measures to protect your home Wi-Fi connection by setting strong passwords and encrypt the network. Do not use public Wi-Fi to conduct any risky activity and be careful when using it for regular activities.

 Network Security Tips:

- Your router likely has a default password; so, ensure that you change it to a new secure one.

- Use WPA3 encryption.

- A basic example could be a guest network for visitors from a household. 

12. Track Your Accounts and Gadgets

Monitor your bank statements, credit reports, as well as all the accounts that you use online at least once in a while. Some services include alert options for any login with a different IP address or any transactions made.

Device Monitoring:

Make it a custom to check the devices' activity and the settings of the gadgets now and then for presence of unknown devices accessing the network or any change that was not made by you.

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