According to Gartner research, 75% of mobile apps would fail the basic security tests. Add to that the new vulnerabilities found in popular mobile operating systems and you will have a tough time securing your mobile device.
According to the statistics, there has been a 188% increase in Android vulnerabilities and 262% increase in iOS vulnerabilities. This makes mobile devices most vulnerable to security attacks and it ranks at the top of IT weakest security links closely followed by social media.
This brings us to the most important question every mobile user is asking. How to make your mobile devices hacker-proof? Here are seven ways to make your mobile device more secure.
1. Two Factor Authentication
As regards the security of your iPhone, Samsung galaxy, android and others, you need to set a password or pin to screen lock your phone manually just by going to the settings tab on your tablet phone your device will stay locked until you manually unlock it.
Ensure your password or PIN is difficult to guess and don’t tell anyone your security code. Also, Make sure you change your password and PIN frequently. To block hackers and protect your phone from being hacked, you can add another layer of security by using two-factor authentication wherever possible and make it difficult for hackers to get inside your phone.
First and foremost, what is Two factors or Steps Authentication (2FA, TFA)? This is a multi authentication or verification that deals with security solutions of online account in which you’ll provide other personal details to support your username and passcode in your account. Should your account becomes insecure or hacked, this personal information will be asked before your account is reactivated.
Some websites like Facebook, Apple, Google, Instagram etc offer you two-factor authentication for logins so why not use it to keep your private data private since it’s one of the best way to protect data. It is only a matter of time when all services start to offer two-factor authentication. Already, we have 2 steps verification apps.
2. Use Encryption
Setting up a strong password and PIN or frequently changing it or using two-factor authentication will protect your data from unauthorized access but what about the data you are sending to a friend. How can you protect that? or what if, your device is unlocked and the unauthorized person get their hands on it?
This is where data encryption comes into play and save your day. Encrypt the data on your Android phone, iPhone, Samsung galaxy and encrypt your messsge before sending it to anyone.
This prevent someone from spying your text messages, open and read your texts online. I often hear people asking on forum if someone can hack into there phone and read text messages and I can tell you that, there are different methods hackers can break into your phone.
Hackers can send link in text messages and once you click the link, you may be get hacked. They can even hack your smartphone from their computer, through Facebook, by calling you, via WiFi network or using Bluetooth and there are also possibilities of hackers cracking your phone camera or hacking your phone with just the number.
Recently, a computer scientist leading a research team made publication about how Smartphone and other digital products can be hacked with sound waves and I’ve talked about how your phone could be hacked when you play music, so the possibility is endless.
There are already best encrypted messaging apps in android market to secure your text messages and keep them private. Using encryptions to give you a secure communication medium while others might soon follow.
3. Download Apps From Trusted Sources
Despite Google and Apple’s efforts for curbing malicious apps, many infected apps make their way into the respective app store. For security purpose, your phone is set in default to block installation of apps not obtained from google play store and you have option to allow installation of apps from unknown sources.
The best way to avoid installing malicious apps is to download and install an app from trusted sources. If for one reason or the other you want to download and install app from other sources, you should stop unwanted apps from installing automatically by itself without permission on your iPhone and android devices in order to avoid malicious computer programs.
Even better, only use official app stores to download and install apps. The reason is that, it is much harder to differentiate malicious apps from real ones on third-party app stores and hence it is the riskier route to take.
Although, strong vetting process by Apple makes it difficult for infected apps for getting to Apple’s app store this is not the case with Android. If you’re having issue of random apps keep installing by themselves, try to stop apps from automatically downloading on your iphone.
4. Stay Safe on Open Wi-Fi
Do not get me wrong. We all know that open public Wi-Fi is not safe but we still use it. That is why we have to pay a heavy price for it in terms of security and privacy. Open Wi-Fi networks are the soft targets for hackers as they can easily get into those networks and run away with your private data.
Someone, even your neighbors can hack your WiFi router, change your password. Even though there are ways to check WiFi hackers in your network, block them with block them with some best public wifi security apps and softwares you can download free or pay online, there are less security measures and advantage to protect your phone from hackers in open WiFi network.
This could get worse if you are reckless and using open Wi-Fi networks for performing banking transaction. You might end up losing your credit card information and other private details, so, avoid financial transactions whether it is online shopping or banking transaction.
Other reason open WiFi network is ‘injurious’ is those network sniffer who use wifi snooping softwares, an easily intercept data with free network sniffer tool.
Use VPN services when you are using public Wi-Fi networks to hide your identity, avert this public wifi security risk and stay safe on public WiFi. You can use Android WiFi assistance and Google VPN,
5. Remotely Lock Your Device and Wipe Out Data
Suppose your mobile device gets stolen or lost? What would you do next? Do you want to remotely wipe your data and lock your device? You won’t believe it, but you can do that with a handy feature that is available on both Android and iOS.
You can track lost mobile phone by IMEI number and block the phone online if stolen, report your stolen phone. All you have to do is to log in to your account with your credentials and select your device.
You will get options for locking your devices, locating your device and wiping out data remotely. Just select the desired option and it’s done. Easy, isn’t it ? We’ve written a comprehensive guide on wiping your data when phone is lost here.
6. Avoid Malicious Links
Another way hackers use to infect our mobile devices is to send us malicious links. Whether they appear in emails, social media sites or on any other website we visit through our mobile devices, users need to ensure that the link is safe before clicking on it.
To protect your phone from viruses and secure it from hackers, you need to be understand the url shortener security risk, be careful with too long URLs, URLs with too much dashes, URLs in language you don’t understand, links in poor quality content, link bait content, URLs in questionable giveaways and promo; etc.
One wrong tap is enough to compromise your devices and give hackers access to it. Thankfully, there are many useful link checking tools available in the market that can help you decide which links to click and which links to avoid.
Today, you can scan website for malicious code and vulnerabilities with free website security checker tools, report them and block such websites from some Internet browsers like chrome.
7. Install an Antivirus App
Last but certainly not the least is installing an antivirus app. Although, this might seem a simple tactic, it is quite an effective one, especially if you constantly update its virus definitions and keep it updated to the latest version.
These antivirus apps have both free and paid versions so if you really care about your mobile security, you could also consider getting a premium version of a reputable antivirus app. That does not mean that free version doesn’t do enough to protect your mobile device, it does but it does not offer the level of protection that paid versions of antivirus software does.
In order to stay safe in today’s mobile-dominated world, you need to stay one-step ahead of the hackers. By practicing caution while using your mobile device and following best mobile security practices, you can easily save your mobile device from most of these attacks.
Use some of these effective ways in conjunction and you can significantly minimize the risk of your mobile device getting into wrong hands. How do you keep your mobile device secure? Feel free to share it with us in the comments section below.
This article is written by Muneeb Qadar Siddiqui, a digital marketing expert at Branex UAE and edited by one of the Techpally editors. Muneeb keeps a close eye on digital technology trends and use them in his work to deliver futuristic marketing plans to clients that not only fulfill their current but also their futuristic needs.