Protecting our smartphones is more than just putting them in a case or putting on a screen guard. The data we pump in and out of them needs to be protected too.
Thankfully, the smartphones we have today offer us several options when it comes to keeping our devices and data secure. Doing so also upholds the protection you actively use when logging into a site or service when you are on a computer.
On a smartphone, the email is “always on.” Unlike a browser on your home computer, you do not need to log in every time you check your email, or messages. That arguably makes these simple tips to add a small layer of protection all the more important.
Nothing is guaranteed, but short of replacing your device with a Blackphone, these ideas will likely put you more than one step ahead of the general public. Since in some cases there are so many options available, make sure you do your own research and seek recommendations from colleagues or others whose input you trust.
Coupling these ideas along with getting familiar with your platform's "find my phone" type feature will help close the lid on any possible leaks of your information. Should you lose your device, you can go to the requisite device manager and wipe the phone clean if there is a connection.
5 + 1 ways to safeguard your data
5 + 1 ways to safeguard your data
1. Use a strong password instead of a PIN or even a pattern
A strong (strongest) password is a random jumble of letters, upper and lower-case, numbers, and special symbols that together are greater than 8 characters in length. That one feature alone can give you a little peace of mind if you set your phone down and see someone else pick it up.
If you have a recently updated LG device, the KnockOn code will accept combinations up to 8 taps in 4 quadrants. Whatever you do, do not use lazy passwords
2. Use device encryption
iPhones automatically encrypt data on the device once you set-up a passcode or password. On Android devices, it needs to be turned on in the settings. The process is not complicated, but can take the better part of an hour to set up.
3. Use a VPN
If you encounter a lot of unsecured Wi-Fi hotspots in your travels, then a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is a must. There are dozens of options to choose from in the Google Play store, and in iTunes. Make sure you examine your options carefully. Many apps are free with in-app purchases to subscription based services. The VPN help keep your data from being recognized by folks that might be lurking in an open network environment. Simply go your device’s app store and search “VPN.”
4. Use encrypted chat apps
This option can be challenging since this only works if the people you chat with are using the same app. If you have a lot of international friends or colleagues, some apps may not be available. Apple’s iMessage and BlackBerry Messenger is already encrypted, and there are a number of apps available for iOS, Android, and Windows Phone.
5. Use encrypted calling apps
Just like the encrypted chat apps, this option also only works if the person you are calling is using the same service. Just as with encrypted chat, simply check out your platform’s app store for a wide selection of available apps, and perform your own due diligence, or get recommendations from friends or colleagues.
If you really do not want to mix business and pleasure, then nothing beats compartmentalization, even if your device is equipped to handle different profiles. We are not saying you need to go all-out and buy a $600 flagship, there are a lot of very capable devices on the market that are less than $300 which will serve your needs admirably.
The key for this tip is that this device must be purpose used, meaning do not load the same apps you have on your personal device. A lot of games and other casual apps we use every day track information that you may otherwise do not want known in any way, shape, or form.