Essential Security Tips for Your New Smartphone

Whether you just got your first smartphone or are upgrading to the latest and greatest new device, it is important to secure it properly. Your smartphone is more than a way to make phone calls. It is actually a very powerful computer, and you need to treat it that way.

That means making sure your new smartphone is secure before you start using it. You probably keep a lot of personal information on that phone, from your private banking information to the addresses and phone numbers of loved ones. Taking a few minutes to keep that data safe can help you head off problems in the future.

1

Set a Strong Password or PIN,Think about what you have stored on your smartphone. Now think about how you would feel if all that personal information ended up in the hands of a thief. Setting a password or PIN is the first thing you should do when you get a new smartphone. Before you download that first app or set up your email, take a few minutes to set a strong password or PIN code.

Avoid obvious PINs and passwords that others might be likely to guess – things like your birth date, the birth dates of your children, the names of your pet, etc. Adding numbers, a mixture of upper and lower case letters and special characters can make your password even stronger and your new smartphone even more secure.

2

Watch What You Download,You may be in a hurry to download some great apps for your smartphone, but be careful where you go. While most smartphone apps are legitimate, others are designed to steal your personal data, track your phone and even record your keystrokes. Downloading one of those questionable apps could leave your new smartphone wide open to attack.

You can protect yourself by sticking to the apps approved by the manufacturer of your smartphone. If you must download an outside app, take a few minutes to Google it and look for potential problems. If the app is harboring malware, chances are others will have gone online and shared their stories – and their warnings.

3

Install Security Apps,The first apps you should install are the ones that will keep your smartphone secure. There are a number of security apps designed specifically for smartphones. Check with the manufacturer of your phone, or your service provider, for their recommendations.

Be sure to keep the security apps you install up to date. Check the configuration and make sure the apps are set to update themselves automatically. That will give you the best protection against security threats targeting these devices.

4

Keep Your Smartphone at Your Side,Keeping your smartphone with you at all times is one of the simplest ways to keep it safe and keep it out of the hands of the bad guys. Keep your smartphone in your pocket, or in your purse, at all times.

Be wary about allowing people you do not know to use your phone. You might think you are being nice by letting that friendly stranger use your phone to summon roadside assistance or hail a cab, but they could actually be downloading malware. Offer to make the call yourself, then hand over the phone when the cab company or towing service answers.

5

Enable the Remote Location and Wiping Service,Remote location makes it easy for the authorities to track your phone if it does go missing. That feature can help you recover your phone, and your data, if you accidentally leave it on the bus or misplace it at the office.

Remote wiping can be just as useful, especially if your smartphone has been stolen. This feature destroys the personal data on your phone, rendering it useless to anyone who steals it. Be sure you back up your data regularly to make sure you can get your data back if you lose your phone.

6

Be Careful with Public Wi-Fi Networks,Public Wi-Fi is certainly convenient, but it is important to exercise caution when signing on from the coffee shop or airport lounge. Those public Wi-Fi networks are often quite insecure, and that could open up the data on your smartphone to theft.

Do not do any online banking while connected to a public Wi-Fi network, and avoid doing any other personal work as well. If you must check the balance on your bank account or log on to your brokerage account, wait until you have a secure connection to do so.

7

Wipe Your Phone Before You Get Rid of It,When you get a new smartphone, you want to make sure your old one gets a good home. That might mean donating it to a worthy cause, like a shelter that provides cell phones women can use to call 911 in an emergency. It might mean selling the phone to a third party to recover some of your investment. Or it might mean giving the device to a friend or family member.

No matter where your old smartphone is going, you need to make sure it contains no personal data before you hand it over. Be sure to wipe your smartphone before it leaves your control. Failing to delete that old data could put your personal information at risk.