Did you know that at this point in 2022 something like 83% of the world’s population has a smartphone now?
That’s more than 6 billion smartphones.
Here’s another statistic for you. Roughly 60% of fraud, from all sources, starts with a compromised mobile device.
Does that make you a little nervous? Does it inspire you to maybe learn a little more about how to keep your smartphone safe and secure? You’re not the only one. These four hacks (unfortunate choice of words there) will help.
1. Learn About Passcodes
You lock your phone, right? Right?
Ok, good. Now, make sure you lock it securely.
The rule for passcodes (or passwords) is simple. More complicated is better.
It goes like this. If someone wants to access your phone, they’re probably not going to try to guess your passcode one combination at a time. They’re going to use a computer system to do it. That means that a lot of guesses can go through per second.
You’re not protecting the phone from a person as much as from a computer dedicated to cracking your password. When you think about it in those terms, then you realize you want a passcode that is too complicated for a computer to figure out.
If you’re using numbers and letters, don’t use real words, and add as many characters as possible. If it’s a geometric lock, get creative.
As for biometric locks, they go both ways. An attacking computer won’t be able to fake your fingerprint or face, but they’re really only as secure as your passcode anyway.
So, whenever possible, make your passcodes more complicated.
2. Two-Factor Authentication Is Your Friend
Let’s make this as simple as possible. Single-factor authentication is when you need a password to log into something. Two-factor authentication is when you need a password and a connected device or account.
The second factor can be your smartphone or an email address (usually), and it basically means that unless a hacker has access to your password and the second factor, they aren’t getting in.
Complications are good, right? This means that a hacker has to be good at hacking and an effective thief. It’s probably the best security feature you can use.
3. Trust No One
Yes, we all appreciate the irony. How can you trust this advice if you don’t trust anyone?
Classic political thriller lines aside, when it comes to taking links and downloading things to your phone, skepticism is extremely healthy.
The easiest way for someone to steal your password, account information, or even your current physical location (yes, it is creepy) is through a malicious link or download.
This is the golden rule of the internet. If you didn’t specifically ask for it, assume it’s malicious. That goes for emails, links, downloads, and anything else. Unsolicited internet activity is the enemy.
4. VPNs Don’t Protect You
This one might hit hard — especially considering the fact that every social media account ever seems to be sponsored by some major VPN provider.
Look. VPNs are very useful for a lot of things. They are not protective features. A VPN doesn’t make any of the malicious links and downloads (that you now distrust) safe to access. That’s not the point.
A VPN can help you access content in other countries. It can make it a little harder for internet companies to track your activity. When you make and manage it yourself, it’s a great way to create a private connection between two devices.
But, none of that includes protecting you from phishing emails, keyloggers, or any number of countless threats on the internet.