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9 tips to shield your smartphone from hackers and scammers | Technology News

Long considered more secure than desktop operating systems, bad actors are getting smarter at finding ways to grab your sensitive data even on mobile operating systems. So today, let’s explore nine effective strategies to fortify your phone against scammers, hackers, and other cybersecurity threats – on both Android and iOS.

One of the most fundamental steps in securing your phone is using strong, unique passwords for all your accounts. Ditch the habit of reusing passwords across multiple platforms. Instead, opt for random strings of characters, incorporating a mix of letters (both uppercase and lowercase), numbers, and symbols.

2. Switch to passkeys

Even better than passwords? Passkeys. This new authentication method uses biometric data, such as fingerprints or facial recognition, to verify your identity. Passkeys are virtually immune to phishing attacks, as they cannot be shared or stolen like traditional passwords. With passkeys, a portion is stored securely on your device or password manager, while the other half resides with the service provider, making it impossible for hackers to intercept. To know more about passkeys, give our explainer a read.

3. Use VPNs on public Wi-Fi

You may have heard this before countless times. But when connecting to public Wi-Fi hotspots, it’s essential to use a virtual private network (VPN) to encrypt your data and conceal your online activities from prying eyes. VPNs not only safeguard your data in transit but also anonymise your digital footprint, making it harder for anyone to trace your activities back to you. A couple of excellent VPNs you can try are Windscribe and Bitdefender.

4. Avoid using face unlock

While facial recognition can be a convenient way to unlock your device, it’s generally less secure than using a fingerprint or passcode – with one notable exception: iPhones. For other devices, it’s best to rely on more robust authentication methods like fingerprint.

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5. App hygiene is important

Take a moment to audit the apps installed on your phone. Delete any unused or outdated apps, along with their associated accounts and data. Each app represents a potential security risk, as they may contain vulnerabilities or require updates to address known issues. For the apps you choose to keep, enable automatic updates to ensure you’re always running the latest, most secure versions.

mobile security (200degrees/Pixabay)

6. Silence scammers with call blocking apps

Robocalls and phone scams can be more than just a nuisance – they can also put your personal information at risk. Call blocking apps like Truecaller can help identify and block these malicious calls before they reach your phone. While not perfect, these apps can provide an additional layer of protection against potential scams. If a call does come through and you suspect it’s scammy, it’s best to avoid answering at all to avoid encouraging the scammer to call again, maybe from another number.

7. Stick to official apps

Third-party apps that aggregate various services (social media, for instance) into a single platform can pose a security risk by potentially granting unauthorised access to your accounts. To safeguard your sensitive information, always use the official apps provided by the service providers themselves. This way, you can be confident that your login credentials and data are not being compromised by untrusted sources.

8. Back it up

Regularly backing up your phone’s data is a wise practice. It streamlines the process of transitioning to a new device by allowing you to easily transfer your data. More importantly, it ensures that your data is securely stored in the cloud, even if your phone is lost or stolen. Both iOS and Android devices offer straightforward backup solutions – iCloud and Google Drive, respectively – so there’s no excuse not to safeguard your valuable information.

9. Know how to lock or wipe remotely

In the worst-case scenario of your phone being lost or stolen, the ability to remotely lock or wipe your device can be a lifesaver. By locking your phone, you prevent unauthorised access to your data. And if necessary, you can take the more drastic step of remotely wiping all data from your device – a move that becomes less daunting when you have a recent backup safely stored in the cloud. For example, on Android you can use the Find Device app to secure or wipe your phone.

© IE Online Media Services Pvt Ltd

Zohaib is a tech enthusiast and a journalist who covers the latest trends and innovations at The Indian Express’s Tech Desk. A graduate in Computer Applications, he firmly believes that technology exists to serve us and not the other way around. He is fascinated by artificial intelligence and all kinds of gizmos, and enjoys writing about how they impact our lives and society. After a day’s work, he winds down by putting on the latest sci-fi flick. • Experience: 3 years • Education: Bachelor in Computer Applications • Previous experience: Android Police, Gizmochina • Social: Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn … Read More

First uploaded on: 04-04-2024 at 18:57 IST


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