Happy New Year! And what better way to start it off than by becoming more aware of our precious smartphone’s security. With rising cybercrime, we all need to take some simple steps to protect ourselves. Here are a few I always keep in mind:
#1 USE YOUR SCREEN LOCK
Most, if not all Smartphones offer some form of screen lock which
automatically locks the device after a certain time period. Most of us have the option of using a pattern
pass code, entering a pin code, using finger ID or facial recognition. Always be careful when choosing a pin code or
pattern and ensure these can’t be easily guessed.
#2 USE A PASSWORD MANAGER
Yes, I know it seems extreme but we really are all trying (and failing) to remember too many passwords. We all keep way too much personal information on our devices, especially our smartphone – so using a password manager, for example ‘lastpass’ which has a feature which allowing you to create ‘secure notes’. These are kept within the app and only accessible by logging into the app to retrieve these. Software is available that can encrypt files or folders so that a code must be entered before a file can be viewed or copied.
#3 RECOGNISE & ONLY USE TRUSTED APPS & WEBSITES
With the increase of malware and apps/sites which might look like
popular, genuine or official – it’s
important to be aware of the signs of false sites and apps and vigilant when downloading
new apps. Pay attention to the
permissions which the app might be asking for when you are installing it. Google play store offers ‘verified by play
protect’ so look for apps which display this.
#4 WATCH THOSE LINKS!
When you’re browsing online on your phone or device be ultra careful
about what links you click on. Look out for links you may receive on Messenger,
WhatsApp or email – directing you to websites asking for personal information
such as your pin code, bank account number or password. Make sure you always look at the URL and make
sure the ‘http’ has an ‘s’ at the end. This ensures that the URL you are about
to click on is secure but remember cyber criminals may not have got wise to
this. Mis-spelling of domain names etc
are also common.
#5 TURN OFF GEOTAGGING!
Many popular apps and social media platforms use geotagging. There are
also other 3rd party apps which can pull in this data and use it to pinpoint a
user’s location movements or perhaps where they are right at this moment.
Photos for example are geotagged in the photo’s metadata (called EXIF) and
will have the location in which it was taken. You can turn the geotagging off
on your images by going into settings -> privacy -> camera and turning
off the individual app.
Take care online in 2020!
Wayne Denner is a speaker, author and expert on Online Reputation and Wellbeing. Wayne helps young people protect and improve their digital presence. Visit waynedenner.com for more information.