It’s not wrong to say that nowadays your smartphone corresponds to your digital life. Your smartphone contains all your digital data from social media accounts, bank accounts and other sensitive information. It is convenient to have access to all our data in one place. However, it also sets a danger of its hacking or loss.
Having your smartphone hacked is nothing less than a tragedy as it holds all your valuables. A smartphone is a perfect thing to steal one’s identity or to invade his privacy. Hackers are aware of this fact. Hence smartphone hacking attacks are rising day by day. To keep these hackers away from your valuable information, you need to develop a strategy.
It is said that “Nothing is fool-proof” but the following tips which I’m going to tell you will certainly help to turn your phone hackproof. Let’s have a look at these tips:
1. Keep your operating system up-to-date.
Smartphone manufacturers release OS or system updates for security reasons. So, as soon as you get an update from Android or Apple (Whether it be an OS, system or apps update), download and install it. Hackers find vulnerabilities in out-dated operating systems to penetrate in your smartphone and the smartphone manufacturers then fix those bugs by releasing an update. That’s why it is most important to keep the OS up-to-date to prevent smartphone hacking.
2. Download apps only from Google’s Play Store or Apple’s App Store.
Most of the smartphone hacking is carried out by installing applications from untrusted third-party sources. Therefore, it is strongly recommended to install apps from Google’s Play Store for Android users and Apple’s App Store for iPhone users. These two places list the apps only from verified publishers and are tested for any malicious scripts before publishing them. For example, all the apps in the Play Store are verified by Play Protect.
3. Set Screen Lock to your phone.
Screen lock is the first line of defence for your phone. Screen lock can be of different types. Earlier phones had pattern lock, password and passcode. But now as the phone getting smarter(that’s why it’s called smartphone), more security features have been introduced which includes fingerprint scanner or face recognition. Premium smartphones also have an iris scanner.
Most of the smartphones come with a fingerprint scanner and I think it is a convenient and secure way to lock your smartphone. Though hackers have found a way to bypass that using a mould or high definition images of the fingerprint. You have to add another pattern lock or passcode over fingerprint scanner as a backup method. Just make sure that the pattern or passcode is pretty complex and difficult to guess.
4. Be cautious about using public WiFi.
Don’t fall for the free wifi. You may not know who is operating that open, free wifi connection. A hacker might have created one and waiting for someone to connect to his wifi. As soon as the victim connects and start surfing, all the data pass through the hacker’s machine. In hacking terminology, this attack is known as evil twin attack.
Even if you use public wifi, use it with VPN(Virtual Private Network). This way your traffic will be encrypted. Also never access bank accounts or related stuff.
5. Enable remote control feature.
When you lose your phone, this step becomes essential. This setting enables you to control your phone remotely and do activities like locking the phone or erasing all the data, thereby preventing your privacy breach.
In iPhone, you can enable “Find My iPhone” option through iCloud.
For Android users, you need to install Google’s “Find My Device” app from Play Store. This app lets you find, ring, lock and erase any lost Android device.
Also, take a note of your phone’s IMEI(International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. IMEI number is unique to your phone and can track your phone even in the absence of a SIM card. You can find your IMEI number by typing *#06# on your dialer. You can also find it on Settings> About Phone> Status > IMEI information.
6. Manage App Permissions.
Most of the people just ignore knowing which permissions an app is asking for and hurriedly accepts all of them. That’s not you will do from now. Let’s take an example, you downloaded a scientific calculator app and at the time of installing, it’s asking permissions for the camera, device location, microphone etc. now think why would a calculator app need all these permissions. It means it’s a malicious application.
Check the permissions you have given to your installed apps and determine which to give and which not. Disable the permissions you don’t want the app to give by going to Settings > App settings > Installed apps > Choose the App > App permissions. The following screenshot shows the WhatsApp app’s permissions.
7. Use Anti-virus (Optional).
This step is not compulsory. If you follow all the above steps, you don’t really need an Antivirus. Hackers are smart enough. They know people will use Antivirus apps to protect from them. So they develop antivirus apps with malware embedded in them. Antivirus also make the system slow.
Basic tips to prevent Smartphone Hacking:
- Never leave your phone unlocked and unattended.
- Turn off WiFi and Bluetooth if not required.
- Never save sensitive information like passwords, credit card numbers etc. on your phone.
- Delete your browsing history, cookies and cache after each surfing session.
- Take a backup of your phone’s data.