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Protecting Your Privacy on Mobile Devices

In the last one decade, phones have become increasingly smart and the use has gone beyond just calling and texting. People now use their smartphones for banking, personal payments, emailing, and social networking.

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While people have become more engaged on their mobile devices, the risk of getting vital personal information stolen has risen too. Therefore, as a user, you must take necessary steps to ensure that your private information stays private, whether you are on your phone or on your laptop. Today, we have compiled some of the most important and basic things to do to ensure security on your mobile phone. Read on.

1. Choose Your Apps Wisely

Although that new app might look great, you have to remember that there are a lot unknown third party providers out there. This makes it tough to tell how a particular app handles issues like security and privacy. Thus, it’s always ideal to opt for trusted app stores such as the Android Market, iTunes, and Amazon. Likewise, before downloading an app or program and entering your personal information, don’t forget to check the reviews first.

Take extra precaution when you are using financial apps, as they often need you to enter sensitive information like credit card and bank details. Experiment as little as possible and go for only the most reputed ones.

2. Don’t Click Suspicious Links

If you have ever encountered those tiny, almost hard-to-see links, then you better trust your instincts. Unfortunately, based on surveys, people are three times more to click a suspicious link on their mobile devices than on a computer.

Our advice for that? Stay away from doing it. Instead, have a closer look at the URL, especially if it’s requiring you to type in your personal information. A lot of banks have a particular page that explains what they will and will not ask for. It’s always important to do your research first before giving any forms of information.

3. Enable Remote Wiping of Data

Should your mobile device ever get lost or stolen, it would be very convenient to have the ability of being able to erase your valuable data from remotely. This can be done using a remote wiping application and it’s very easy to do.

For iPhone users, you simply have to enable the “Find My Phone” app on your device and sign up for an iCloud account after. This will serve as your command center the moment you need to swipe all that valuable information.

Furthermore, there are some concerns in regard to corporations using location tracking software similar to this to invade a person’s privacy. Make it a habit to check your company’s policy first and ensure that it’s something you’re comfortable with, before having everything fully set up.

4. Consider Using Security Applications

Nowadays, both Malware and Spyware are becoming major concerns for mobile users. Why? These nuisances are capable of tracking the whereabouts of the user, sending personal information, and even slowing down their phone.

Although it can be quite challenging to stay away from downloading these types of programs, it’s still possible to combat them with the help of security software like Avira Mobile Security or Leo Privacy Guard. This will allow you to protect your mobile device against most attacks (certainly no software can guarantee 100% security). Always ensure that your software is up-to-date to receive the protection your phone needs.

5. Save your IMEI Number

The 15-digit serial number of a phone can come in handy, especially when it gets lost and stolen. This can be found on your phone’s battery, or in the phone’s settings. Write it down, because you’ll never know when you’ll need it.

6. Back Up the Phone on a Regular Basis

Backing up the phone means you’ll be able to retrieve the phone’s apps, music and data in case you lose the phone. It also comes in handy if you have decided to perform an OS update. If possible, schedule your phone to be backed up daily.

Too lazy to do that? Try automatic syncing using a cloud program.

7. Update Apps and Softwares Regularly

Software updates usually patch the security, as well as the privacy holes users have found as they use the software in real time. Software that’s regularly updated ensures that your device has all the latest solutions it needs. That in mind, some experts do advise that you wait for a week or two before installing the most recent versions as new releases are often buggy and might have further flaws.

Conclusion

The sad reality is that, whatever you do, you are still not completely secure. Comcast agreed to pay $33 million in a settlement with California authorities in September 2015 as they accidentally published names, phone numbers and addresses of 75,000 users back in 2012. Apple’s iCloud got breached earlier this year as hackers released private photos and videos of hundreds of celebrities including the likes of Jennifer Lawrence, Kate Upton and Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting in an event commonly termed as “the Fappening”.

As a user, you are likely to trust companies like Google and Apple to keep your private data secure. However, when they fail, it just tells that you that you can never be 100% safe. With the entire world embracing the cloud, virtually anyone can be the subject of an attack as we store most of our things in the cloud nowadays. Nonetheless, improve your odds of safety by following the simple tips suggested in the article. As your grandma pointed out a thousand times, it is better to be safe than sorry.

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Charles Mburugu is a professional blogger who writes for TechBlogKe. You can follow him on Twitter @techblogke

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