last updated 03/29/2021
Mobile device usage continues to grow, making these mini-computers a prime source of information about us. Millions of smartphones and laptops are lost each year, and very few are ever recovered. Take these easy steps to protect your data from loss or theft!
- Auto-lock your phone - While it won’t keep your phone from being stolen, most thieves would just wipe the device once confronted with a locked screen. Since many popular apps do not require an additional login, an unlocked phone allows someone to pretend to be you on many of your apps.
- Use a password, fingerprint, or facial recognition on your device instead of a swipe or 4-digit pin - If you must use a pin, make it unique and at least 8-digits in length. Also, change it at least once a year.
- Only download apps from official sites like the App Store or Play Store - Google and Apple have a vested interest in keeping malware off of their app stores. Take advantage of their team of testers by only downloading from these primary sources!
- Keep your device operating system and apps updated - Software vulnerabilities affect mobile devices and apps just like any other computer. Turn on auto-update while connected to a secure Wi-Fi and refresh your device daily!
- Don’t use open/public WiFi for banking or secure transactions - Public WiFi is akin to a public toilet, use one if you must, but be careful what you touch.
- Get antivirus and a security app for your device - Smartphones are computers, treat them as such by installing virus scanning software. (Bitdefender, Norton, Avast, CM Security, Lookout, AVG, McAfee)
- Use a secure lock screen - Block would-be snoopers and impersonators from accessing your device. Few apps require an additional login, making it all too easy for someone to pretend to be you, or read your information.
- Keep location settings enabled - In iOS, enable “Family Sharing” and allow trusted people to play a sound on your missing device or put it in “Lost Mode”. Setup Google’s “Find My Device” feature to help you find your misplaced device. This feature can also remote lock your phone and wipe your information from it.
- Backup your data - use iCloud or Google Drive and make sure your storage choice has enough room to hold all of your family photos and videos.
- Avoid public charging stations - hackers have been known to set up fake charging stations. Once you’ve plugged in, they can access your device’s data or install malware.