Our mobile phones are small but mighty. They contain mountains of sensitive data about our lives from our contacts, pictures, and passwords to our bank accounts and even our homes.

The more advanced our phones becomes, the easier it is for a dangerous person to take advantage of our privacy and personal security. As data leaks reveal our most intimate details with increasing regularity, it’s important to protect our phones like any other digital data.

Despite the constant notifications about privacy policies on every website, it can be hard to know exactly which data they are taking from our devices. You may not even know what data they collect until it’s too late.

With your security in mind, here are 10 security tips that can secure your phone against hacking and other invasions of privacy.

  1. Lock It Up

Locking your phone with a password is much like locking your house with a physical key before you leave home. While passwords aren’t failproof, they do safeguard your data in the event that your phone is stolen.

There are a number of ways to lock your phone, including a pattern, pin number, your fingerprint, or even with facial recognition. Simply setting a strong password isn’t enough, however. Security experts recommend changing your password every three to six months.

  1. Use A VPN

VPNs encrypt your data and use security protocols that prevent others to outsource your data like your bank details, passwords, your signatures etc.

In simple words, VPN allows you to create a secure connection to another network over the internet. Mobile VPN apps are easy to set up, and even easier to use. All you need is to tap one button. From there, the encrypted data is only passed between secure servers operated by the VPN.

  1. Turn On Tracking

All smartphones come equipped with a feature that can track their location if you lose it. This is based on the same technology that allows web pages to see where you’re located.

While there are some downsides to location tracking with regards to privacy, most phones allow you to customize which data is tracked and when. You can even specify that you only want your location tracked in order to find a missing or stolen phone.

  1. Be Careful with Free Wifi

We frequently log on to free wifi networks whenever we get the change. However, you need to be more vigilant while using a wireless network .By using a public network owned by an anonymous person, there’s a higher risk that your phone will be hacked.

Hackers like to take advantage of crowded locations by setting up a fraudulent network with an alluring name. It’s usually better to refrain from connecting to public wifi if security is a concern.

  1. Update Your Device and Apps

Constant updates may seem annoying, but they’re usually to our benefit. Over 98% of Android users and 35% of iOS users do not update their software. However, updating your software regularly means that your phone’s security remains both current and effective.

  1. Avoid Spam

It’s one of the easiest tricks in the books. Clicking strange links can easily make your device vulnerable to security breaches. If you ever receive an email from an unknown sender, especially if it’s equipped with a strange attachment, it’s better to simply delete them or forward them to spam.

However, we don’t have the same options when it comes to links sent through text messages. Unless you can thoroughly trust the sender, it’s better to leave these links alone. More importantly, never fill in any personal details if you happen to land on one of these unsecured pages.

  1. Use An Antivirus

Malware is malicious software designed to disrupt the normal operation of a device. A number of anti-virus services have apps that can be used to protect your mobile devices from being infected with malware. This will help  keep your apps, PDFs, and all the files on your device safe from corruption or theft.

If you already use an antivirus for your computer, you may even discover that you can use the same account to protect your mobile device.

  1. Backup your data

It’s always a good idea to backup your data. There are several ways to do that depending on what kind of device you use. You can either export your data files to your Google Drive, or if you use iOS, you can back-up your data to iCloud.

Though it isn’t always emphasized in user manuals, your data can be dropped at any time, especially if you have enabled auto-updates.

However, there are multiple benefits to regularly backing up your phone. If you lose or otherwise break your device, you won’t have to start from scratch.

  1. Two-factor authentication

Two-factor authentication is one of the best ways to keep your personal data under lock and key. By entering a seperate, one-time code that only you can access in addition to your password, your device can better ensure that you’re the only one who can see your data.

Different apps take different approaches to two-factor authentication. Some will ask you to download a separate app in order to generate the security codes, while others will simply text or email you a code.

  1. Be cautious with downloads

Take care to only download apps or other software from the official website or app store. Cybercriminals can easily imitate trusted applications in order to redirect users. From there, they can easily steal your confidential information.

It’s a good idea to check the reviews and contact information on the apps page before you download anything.

Conclusion

Our mobile phones have long surpassed their use as simple communication tools. We often have sensitive work information, banking details, and other private data all stored on our phones. This makes protecting them from cybercriminals even more important. Luckily, securing your data is so easy, these simple steps will become habits in no time.