A person checking their phone with the words, "mobile device security tips." By Sunny Lowe on June 25th, 2021 in Resources

Joe woke up, and the problems were already well on their way. There were emails indicating strange activity, a call from his bank, his boss had texted him asking if he new how their files were getting corrupted, and the home screen on his phone had changed to a skull and crossbones. His phone was hacked, and he had no idea what to do next.

Smartphones have completely transformed the way people conduct business. More and more, individuals are using their personal devices to make important phone calls, look at important documents sent via email, or just keep up with the latest happenings at work. Because of this, phone security has become a very important topic.

While most people recognize and understand the importance of security measures on a computer, not many users understand that smartphones need to be protected as well. The dedicated IT technicians at Blue Jean Networks have come together to compile a list of smartphone security tips to help protect your valuable information. Whether you are using your phone for business or personal use, these tips can keep your sensitive data safe.

Most of the following items are for your personal phones, but there are even more secure ways to handle your company data on phones with Microsoft 365. If you are interested, give us a call and we can explain the features that come with M365 that can vastly make your phones, and your business more safe.

So, Joe reached out to us, and we made some suggestions for him, that you should look at, as well.

1. Make Sure Your Phone Is Locked and Passcode Protected

This may seem like an obvious tip but it can be quite shocking to learn that many individuals do not password-protect their phone. Most people choose not to password-protect their phone for ease of usage and to avoid the annoyance of unlocking it every time you need to use it. However, an unlocked phone is an easy phone to hack into or steal.

If you are wondering what the best way to lock your smartphone is, there are several methods to choose from. A lot of android phones use a fingerprint scanner, which is one of the strongest ways to lock your phone. Since your fingerprint is unique to you, this method is stronger than FaceID which can be tricked with a bit of clever planning.

Also, always make sure your fingerprint locks and FaceID (whichever you use) are backed up by PIN codes, passwords, or unlock patterns. Make sure to not use simple codes or patterns, such as a pattern that is the shape of the first letter of your name or codes like 1234. Even PIN codes such as your birth year can be easily guessable.

2. Make Sure Phone’s Software Is Up-to-Date

While this is another tip that may seem self-explanatory, it is important to note that an out-of-date operating system is vulnerable to hackers. Because of this, you need to actively make sure your phone is up-to-date. This can be easily done by turning on your phone’s auto-update feature—this allows your phone to automatically update at night while it is plugged in.

Why Are Androids Less Protected Than Iphones?

Android smartphones, unlike Iphones, have security measures placed within each update. This means you need to stay up-to-date in order to be equipped with the latest security measures. Another note to keep in mind is that, to keep people buying new phones, manufacturers deliberately make support for older models cut off at some point. With all this under consideration, make sure you ensure that your model of phone includes the latest update. If it does not, it might be time to consider upgrading devices. 

It is also important to note that even iPhones suffer from the cut-off updates for older models. Again, this is to get individuals to upgrade to the latest version of the phone. While it may seem like a small matter, an outdated phone is susceptible to hacking as it does not have the latest security features that are present in the newer models.

3. Create Strong Passwords and Don’t Reuse Them

The next tip on our list holds true for both smartphones and computers. People often settle for easy-to-remember passwords, usually involving the name of their pets or loved ones. While this may be easy for you to remember, a quick look at your social media profile can make it easy for hackers to figure it out as well. Always make sure that your passwords include capital letters along with symbols and numbers to make them less predictable.

To go along with this tip, make sure you are not reusing the same password for every account you have. Make sure that you use a unique password for every sensitive information account. If you have trouble remembering your passwords, you can always write them down in a notebook and store this notebook with your other important documents. While web browsers and smartphones often have features that store passwords, this may not be the safest option. 

4. Do Not Save Personal Log-In and Payment Information on Your Phone

While there are a lot of password-saving features and security apps on smartphones, they are not 100% foolproof. A lot of individuals often trade privacy for convenience, saving their passwords and usernames on web browsers so they don’t have to log in the next time they visit the site. 

This is also true with shopping and banking services, such as Amazon, where individuals save their card information to make shopping faster and more convenient. While this makes your information easy to access, it also puts it in a vulnerable position and makes it easier for hackers to get into.

While it may seem like a nuisance and inconvenience to manually enter your information every time, it is a whole lot easier than coping with compromised information. 

Rather, use a tool like LastPass, which can work on your phone too, and let that store your passwords so you can get to them on your PC or your phone.

5. Make Sure You Are Downloading Your Apps From Secure Sources

Google and Apple have strict rules about what kind of apps are allowed onto their app store, and for good reason. A lot of third-party apps that are available for jailbroken phones may be able to unlock cool features for the device, but they also often bring malware with them. This malware steals sensitive data from your phone and leaves you vulnerable.

Never jailbreak your phone and do not try to download apps from websites. Instead, check either the Google or Apple app stores for the app you want and download it or one like it from there. These apps will be safer and will not carry the risk of malware getting into your phone.

6. Antivirus For Your Phone

Antivirus software is nothing new, however, while many individuals use anti-virus software on their computer, they don’t usually think to also install it onto their phones. While it is not necessarily mandatory for personal-use phones, it is important for work phones. Anti-virus software on your phone will keep it safe from malware files, exploits from suspicious sites, or potential phone damage from apps downloaded from a third-party source.

While there are many different options for individuals to choose from, the best antivirus software for phones is from companies that already make antivirus software for computers. Companies like BitDefender, Norton, Kaspersky, and McAfee all have mobile-optimized versions of their computer antivirus software that are well known for their effectiveness at keeping malware at bay.

The best part about these particular companies is that they often bundle their computer and mobile antivirus software, allowing homeowners to get the most out of their investment. If you are still unsure which option would be best for your situation, you can always contact the trusted team at Blue Jean Networks for a professional opinion.

This is especially needed for Android phones.

7. Use a VPN to Keep Your Device Protected

If you are working in a public space, such as a coffee shop or library, then you need to be careful when using public Wi-Fi. These sources are often unprotected and are easy points of attack for hackers. A VPN, also known as a virtual private network, can help keep you safe while using an unsecured network. This tool encrypts up to 100% of your internet traffic, protecting you and your sensitive information from hackers. VPN’s work by redirecting your internet traffic through a uniquely configured and remote server, then sending it to your device. This technique hides your IP address and makes it harder for websites, and hackers, to pinpoint your location. 

Give Yourself and Your Business Peace of Mind and Protect Your Business’s Data With Blue Jean Networks

Smartphones are fantastic devices that allow us to take our work on the go and handle important business with just a few taps on a screen. However, whether you are using your phone to conduct business, make a personal phone call, or simply check your email, having it protected will give you greater peace of mind.

Just as following these tips can help increase your smartphone’s security, teaming up with Blue Jean Networks can protect your business from downtime and the loss of sensitive data. Our team of IT professionals can help keep your systems secure and up and running with our extensive 12-month maintenance program that protects your network through regular checks and proactive measures. Contact our team today to find out more about our managed IT services or to schedule a consultation with one of our experienced IT specialists!