1. Install Mobile Anti-Virus Software
With mobile device usage being so ubiquitous these days and data breaches steadily on the rise, installing an anti-virus app on your smartphone or tablet today is more crucial than ever to help protect your private financial and personal information from being stolen or leaked online. Some of the top mobile security apps include: Norton; McAfee; AVG; and Lookout, which are available for both Android and iOS-based mobile devices and smartphones. However, make sure that these apps are legitimate by visiting the website in the app description before downloading them to your mobile devices. Also keep in mind that Apple’s iPhone apps are more secure, due to their strict controlling of App Store app publishers, whereas Android mobile devices are more vulnerable to pick up viruses, due to Android being an open source software platform where virtually anyone can create an app and publish it on the Google Play Store.
2. Keep Smartphone Software Up-To-Date
Always keeping your smartphone Operating System (i.e. iOS, Android, or Windows) up-to-date will help prevent any unwanted cyber-attacks on your smartphone. For instance, Apple recently released an update for its iOS mobile 7 Operating System (OS) (i.e. 7.0.6), which prevents any online intruders from accessing your smartphone data on unsecured WIFI networks. If you are not currently receiving automatic notifications for your OS updates, make sure you check the box within your smartphone’s main settings to enable this feature.
3. Create a Secure Lock Screen
Although it may seem like a numeric pass code is all that’s necessary to secure your mobile smartphone or tablet data, you should instead ideally have an alphanumeric pass code that you change on a fairly regular basis, but numeric pass codes are alright too if this feature is not possible on your mobile device. Also try to avoid using mobile facial recognition security systems, such as Android’s Face Look, which is not secure.
4. Don’t Install Apps from Untrusted Sources
According to Symantec’s recently released Internet Security Threat Report, there are nearly a million malware-based apps and 2.3 million grey-ware apps.
5. Avoid Jail-Breaking or Rooting Your Mobile Devices!
In case you are unaware what jail-breaking or rooting a mobile device means. Jail-breaking or rooting occurs when you download a modified version of your mobile operating system, so that you can have more control over its features, look, and speed. However, while it may seem like an interesting or good idea at the time, unless you really know what you are doing, you can land up turning your smartphone into an expensive paper weight and expose it to more malicious apps; as well as not being able to download any of your crucial iOS or Android software updates without great difficulty. In addition, rooting or jail-breaking your mobile device will void your warranty!
6. Use a Mobile Password Safe App
By using a mobile password safe app to securely store all of your important account login information, it will not only allow you to quickly access your important online services and accounts, but also make your accounts more secure by setting up more secure passwords for each account. Some of the highest rated password safe apps and services, include: LastPass; Dashlane; KeePass; Sticky Password Premium; and 1Password.
LastPass: Free or $12/year for mobile devices.
Dashlane: Free but $40/year for mobile devices.
Sticky Password Premium: $20/year.
1Password: $50 (one time license fee).
7. Keep Location Settings Enabled
Keeping location settings enabled on your smartphone is mainly for smartphone retrieval purposes, so that you can track your smartphone in the event that you lose your smartphone or it is stolen. One popular iOS mobile app for both iPhones and iPads for this purpose is the FindMyiPhone app, which is available in the App Store. Some highly rated Android smartphone retrieval apps include: Android Device Manager; Anti-Theft Alarm; Seek Droid: Find My Phone and Where’s My Droid.
8. Turn Off NFS, Bluetooth, and GPS When Not in Use
Making sure that you’re Bluetooth and Near Field Communications (NFC) are off on your smartphone or tablet is crucial, since NFS technology can accidentally lead to your private financial data and location information being leaked to a random passerby. Also make sure that you only provide access to your smartphone to trusted Bluetooth sources, such as your car.
9. Keep Sensitive Files Off Your Phone
Rather than keeping all of your sensitive personal data on your smartphone, you can back up your data on your computer, external hard drive, or USB drive. And if you want to be extra safe you can encrypt your most sensitive personal or financial data on an encrypted USB or external hard drive.
10. Back Up Regularly
It is crucial that you back-up your mobile data on a fairly regular basis, which can be done extremely affordably and efficiently using a good mobile backup data app. Some of the top Android backup apps include: Helium App Sync and Backup (Free or $4.99); Ultimate Backup (Free or $2.99); Titanium Backup (Free or $6.58); My Backup Pro (30-day Free Trial or $4.99); Super Backup (Free or $1.99 without ads); and Avast’s Mobile Backup & Restore (Free or $1.99/month). Check out this full list of the top 10 Android smartphone backup apps.
In terms of backup apps for the iPhone, besides Google Drive and other popular storage cloud services, such as iCloud, Box, and DropBox, there are a lot less backup apps, except for a small handful of ones, such as McAfee Security (Free), Lookout, IDrive Online Backup, but make sure you do your due diligence when selecting an iPhone or iPad backup service, since many of these listed above are fairly new and don’t have many ratings in the App Store.