Mobile phone security

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Worried your smartphone might be at risk? Learn how to easily protect it against hackers, malware, phishers and thieves

These days, our smartphones are essentially portable, hand-held computers that contain all of our personal details. To that end, they’re just as attractive to hackers and thieves as our laptop or PC - not to mention easier to steal, too.

Luckily, there are simple things you can do to protect your Android or Apple iPhone device. Let's take a look...

Secure your lock screen

Locked phone screen

These days, most new phones – like the iPhone 11 and Samsung Galaxy Note – have fingerprint scanners for extra protection.

But if your phone doesn’t have one, you can still set a long password – preferably with numbers, symbols and letters. This is more secure than setting up a pattern or a four-letter pass-code, and although it's not as secure as a finger print scanner, it will make it more difficult for thieves to hack into your smartphone.

Use anti-virus software

One of the easiest ways to safeguard your device is to use anti-virus software. Like the virus protection on your computer, the McAfee app for iPhone and Avast for your Android will make it extremely difficult for any Malware to attack your phone.

Unsure which type software to use? A little research will show you the most up-to-date software to use.

Don’t track your location

Although its convenient to have a GPS system on your phone, it’s a good idea to switch it off whenever you’re not using it. That’s because, if left on, any malicious apps on your phone will be able to tell exactly where you are.

Monitor your apps

iPhone apps on screen

One of the easiest time for hackers to get into your phone is after you've installed a malicious app. A good way to avoid harmful apps is to only download ones you find on official platforms like Google Play and Apple’s App Store, as most malware comes from illegitimate apps.

For extra piece of mind, Google Play Protect will scan any apps you download to ensure they are safe. And Apple monitors every apps it hosts on its App Store to ensure it's safe.

Switch off Bluetooth and Wi-Fi

Similarly, it’s also a good idea to switch off your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi when you’re done using them. This will make it much harder for hackers to compromise your device.

Keep your phone updated

Whether you’re an iPhone or Android user, software developers are constantly updating operating systems to stay ahead of hackers. When they spot potential gaps in security, they go about fixing it immediately.

How do I update my apps?

  • On iPhone, simply tap 'Settings,' then hit 'General'or System depending on your device, and 'Software Update.' After that, select 'Check for update.'
  • For Android, go to 'Settings', then find 'Software Update.' 

Do a factory reset when you get rid of your phone

Planning on selling your phone? Once you’ve backed up all of your pictures and messages, it’s a good idea to perform a factory reset. This way, your personal files will no longer be on the phone – it’ll be the same as it was when you first got it so you can be sure that non one has access to things like your images and messages.

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