Simple ways to improve your mobile security
Ting Staff • November 17, 2020
Lately, we’ve been thinking a lot about mobile security. In 2015, the Pew Research Center made it official: The percentage of Americans who own smartphones is now larger than the percentage who own computers (desktop or laptop). Since 2012, the percentage of Americans who own computers has been dropping steadily. Incredibly, more people now access the Internet through their smartphones than using computers.
For years, technology experts have warned people to protect their computers against attacks from viruses, malware and hackers. Now, these same experts have shifted their focus to smartphones. With good reason: one 2018 survey found that 52 percent of users don’t even password-protect their smartphones.
Smartphones are wonderfully convenient, but with the amount of data they now handle, it’s imperative that we all start taking phone security seriously.
Why should I protect my smartphone?
In 2018, 79 percent of smartphone users made online purchases with their phones, while nearly 40 percent of eCommerce purchases during the holiday season were on mobile. About 2 billion phone users were estimated to have made purchases from their smartphones in 2019, creating revenue of over $35 billion. There’s no doubt that with all this activity, smartphones are a target for hackers and opportunists.
Each day, we see commercials telling us how easy it is to make payments using our smartphone and how easy it is to buy products through apps. It may be easy, but all of that online activity is exposing your private information to a whole new network of bad guys. Experts affirm that smartphones aren’t that hard to hack, which means that if your phone is left unprotected, all of your personal and financial information is potentially out there for anyone to see and steal.
How to secure your smartphone
Mobile security starts with developing good habits when you store and use information. If your smartphone has a screen lock feature, make sure you enable that feature. Don’t use a password or passcode that’s easy to guess and don’t stick with the same one for too long.
Download operating system updates (over Wi-Fi, naturally) and install them so you’re always up to date and protected against known bugs and exploits. Speaking of, no matter what type of smartphone you are using, always use a secure Wi-Fi connection in public.
If you have no option but to use an unsecured (open) Wi-Fi network, ensure you use a VPN. For enhanced Android security and Apple security, SurfEasy VPN is an app that allows you to utilize unsecured Wi-Fi connections while protecting the data being sent back and forth, meaning you’re much less open to attack. This helpful article will tell you all you need to know about VPNs.
You should also be very careful about the personally identifiable or sensitive information you store on your device. If you ever lose your phone, the screen lock is the only thing that stands between whoever finds your phone and the information your phone contains. Find my iPhone and Android Device Manager will allow you to track and, if necessary, wipe your phone should it fall into the wrong hands.
What about apps and mobile security?
When you are looking for apps to download, always use the official app marketplace for your phone (the Play Store for Android and the App Store for iPhone). Avoid downloading apps from anywhere else unless you implicitly trust the source.
To truly beef up phone security, you may want to consider apps designed specifically for this purpose. Security apps differ from platform to platform, so you’d be wise to become familiar with the best security apps for your particular smartphone. For the iPhone platform, Trend Micro and McAfee offer a suite of security apps for your phone.
For the Android platform (which includes Samsung’s Galaxy line and phones from various other manufacturers including LG, Moto, HTC and Huawei to name a few) Avast is a popular choice. 360 Security is also well regarded.
The short version
As you move away further away from the desktop or laptop as your primary device, don’t forget to migrate your security practices to include mobile security too. Your smartphone is just as vulnerable to attack as any other computing device. Taking a few simple steps to improve phone security will go a long way towards protecting your personal and financial information.
Ting Mobile is serious about phone security
If you’re serious about mobile security, you’ll find kindred spirits here at Ting Mobile. Our team has extensive expertise in both mobile and Internet security best practices, so you can be sure your data is safe with us. Add that to a mobile carrier with coast-to-coast coverage, consistently low bills and top-rated customer service, and we think we might be a great fit. Why not see if your phone can come to Ting Mobile?
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