Security breaches have become unfortunately a lot more common. In the first half of 2019, over 4.1 billion records were exposed. This was nearly a 60% increase from the same time period in the previous year.
The advent of the Internet gave our civilization opportunities unprecedented throughout human history. Unfortunately, not all the opportunities that this new IT age brought in are used to do good, which is attested by the prevalence of malware and malicious actors nowadays. It is a sad fact of life that you need to be on your guard when handling IT – and not just your PC, but all your smart devices, such as your phone and tablet and other smart appliances.
Recent studies show that while most malware targets Android devices, iPhones can also be hacked – which means that no one is safe from malicious depredations. Seeing as how that’s the case, everyone should take precautions to protect their mobile devices from malicious attacks. Follow the practices recommended by cyber-security industry professionals to ensure that your mobile device is as safe as it can be.
Never Jailbreak or Root Your Device
“Jailbreaking” or “Rooting” is a practice of tampering with the software of a device in order to remove software restrictions imposed by the manufacturer or add, edit or delete system files. It is, in all essentiality, the practice of hacking your own phone to allow you to do something specific with it that the manufacturers specifically don’t want you to do.
This was a very popular practice a few years ago. In 2013, a single jailbreak app was used on 23 million devices. However, we have since recognized the serious security issues it causes.
There’s a good reason why this practice usually voids the warranty of the device – it’s unsafe and can introduce many potential faults in your device’s security.
Don’t Sideload Apps
Only ever use the Apple App Store or the Google Play Store to download apps. If you want to make sure that you aren’t actually downloading malware, don’t install anything on your mobile device from any other source than those two. Other places that may provide you with the files needed to install an app may be negligent in their duty to prevent malicious attacks, or even worse – give you harmful files on purpose.
Always Update Your Device
All those software updates that just keep pestering you to restart your device are more important than you may initially assume. They may be annoying, sometimes downloading without your knowledge and/or permission, and besides – they don’t seem to do much but shrink the space available on your device. Right? Wrong. Most of these are security patches that ensure that hackers can’t exploit a key vulnerability in your device’s software before the update. You should never skip those updates.
Software is not the only thing that needs updating, though. While users may want to take advantage of devices they already own for as long as possible, this is not necessarily a good idea. Manufacturers have the habit of providing the best support to more recent models of any given line of mobile devices, with older models falling by the wayside in terms of both usability and security. Many users have reservations about purchasing a new, expensive mobile device every so often, and having to get used to a new device can be a bother. The process of researching and ultimately – choosing your new device itself is not many people’s liking, but it can be made easier with the use of a dedicated mobile phone comparison website.
Observe General Online Safety Practices
While the code comprising the threats that menace mobile and desktop users may be different, the same general threat avoidance principles apply when it comes to both types of devices. Don’t click suspicious links. Don’t download files unless you’re absolutely certain that those files are safe, without a shadow of a doubt. Don’t reply to suspicious messages. Keep on the lookout for signs that you may be getting phished or targeted by another type of social engineering scheme.
Bluetooth and Wi-Fi Connectivity
Don’t connect to the Internet or other devices you don’t have a reason to trust completely via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi. Don’t use public networks to connect to the Internet, as those can be used by malicious actors as vectors for infection. Additionally, make sure you always set a password if you activate your Bluetooth or create a hotspot.
Look Out For Rigged Charging Stations
Don’t ever use a public charging station or trust someone else to charge your device for you, especially via a USB cable that’s connected to another device. This can be used as a vector to attack your device. If you find yourself constantly running out of power – consider investing in an external power source instead of risking a potential security breach.
Manage App Permissions
An often overlooked aspect of online security is the practice of limiting the information that companies can collect on you. Limiting app permissions to the bare minimum minimizes the chances of your personal information getting collected by the app’s owner, and then getting leaked if they themselves get hacked.
Enable Multi-Factor Authentication
Multi-factor authentication is one of the best ways to boost the security of mobile devices. The added layer of protection that it affords ensures that even if any malicious actors somehow get their foot in the door, they will not be able to do much in the way of damage when it comes to the parts of the device that have it enabled.