19 Ways to Protect Your Mobile From Attacks

by Robert Best on April 29, 2020
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19 Ways to Protect Your Mobile From Attacks

How often do you use your mobile phone? It's a lot, right? Smartphones and mobile devices have almost become a second office for most people. So the need to protect your device from mobile attacks is just as great as protecting your office.

Here are 19 ways you can protect your mobile from cyber attacks.

WiFi

Only auto-join familiar networks

Don't allow your device to auto-join unfamiliar networks. Auto connecting to networks is of course extremely useful. By all means, use that function for networks you trust but if you have to connect to a public WiFi don't save it so it auto connects.

Public or insecure networks are playgrounds for cybercriminals. You should stay off them as much as possible and you don't want your phone auto-connecting to an insecure network.

Always turn off WiFi when you aren't using it or don't need it

This tip follows the same premise. If you are not on any networks then no one can access through your WiFi connection. If your WiFi is turned off when you are not using it then it can't connect to any insecure networks without you knowing.

Never send sensitive information over WiFi unless you are sure it's a secure network

Limiting your time on public and unsecured networks is about protecting your mobile device. You should only ever send secure information (e.g. an email or accessing your bank details) over a network unless you are 100% confident it is a secure network.

Apps

Only use apps available in your devices store

Never download an app from a browser. You should only ever download apps from the apps store of your device (i.e. Play store for Android and App Store for Apple). Apps are vigorously tested for security issues before they allowed into a store. That is not the case with apps you can download through your browser.

Be wary of apps from unknown developers or those with limited/bad reviews

Even when using the store on your device you should remain wary of applications that have poor or a limited number of reviews. These can both be signs of an insecure application.

Keep apps updated

Updating your apps will make sure they have the latest security installed. Just like applications used on your desktop and laptop, mobile applications will use updates to install the latest security fixes. It is possible to set up auto-updates so your apps will be kept up to date automatically.

If an app is no longer supported by your store just delete it

If you have an app that no longer receives updates because it is no longer supported in the store, uninstall it. Even if it's your favourite app you should stop using it and delete it. If it no longer receives updates then it can become a security risk.

Don't grant excessive permissions to apps unless you trust them

Only grant excessive permissions to apps that you fully trust. Giving permissions to suspect applications will make your phone insecure. If you don't fully trust the app then don't give it the permissions it requests.

Browser

Remain vigilant

Hand holding smartphone with media icons and symbol collection

Watch out for ads, giveaways and contests that seem too good to be true. Often these lead to phishing sites that appear to be legit. Just as you would when using a web browser on a desktop or laptop make sure the links you click are valid.

Examine URLs

Pay close attention to URLs. They are harder to verify on mobile screens but it's worth the effort. Follow the same phishing protection procedures you would if using a desktop or laptop. It's even more important on a mobile because the URL is harder to examine.

Never save your login information when you're using a web browser

If you want to save your passwords instead of having to remember them all, use a password manager and not the browser. Password managers offering better security for your passwords and most apps can be synced between your devices.

Bluetooth

Disable automatic Bluetooth pairing

Just like WiFi, Bluetooth is a common way for cybercriminals to try and access your phone. Disable auto-pairing in your Bluetooth settings and only connect with devices you trust. Don't make it easy for the cybercriminals.

Always turn it off when you don't need it

If you're not using Bluetooth, then like WiFi, turn it off. By doing this you reduce the ways a hacker can access your phone. It can be tempting with so many devices using Bluetooth to connect to your phone to keep it on but it will make your device less secure.

Smishing (phishing via SMS)

Be aware of SMS scams

Don't trust messages that attempt to get you to reveal any personal information. Much like you would when protecting yourself from email phishing do not click the links you receive from suspicious text messages.

The same goes for other messaging apps

Beware of similar tactics in platforms like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, Instagram etc. Follow the safe steps across all your messaging devices as you would when dealing with phishing emails.

Check links before you click

person-holding-a-smartphone

Treat messages the same way you would treat email, always think before you click. If you don't know or don't fully trust the sender then do not click on the link. In SMS you get to see the whole link so examine it carefully before clicking on it, even if it comes from someone you trust. Their device might have been compromised without their knowledge.

Vishing (voice phishing)

Do not give out financial information

Do not respond to telephone or email requests for personal financial information. if you are concerned, call the financial institution directly, using the phone number that appears on the back of your credit card or your monthly statement.

Don't give account details to recordings

Speak only with live people when providing account information, and only when you initiate the call. Banks will not use your account details for security questions. If you are ever in any doubt end the call and find the correct number on the bank's website and call them yourselves.

Install software that can tell you whether you are on a secure or fake website

Anti-virus and other security applications can be used on mobiles. Security has come a long way in the last few years and these apps are common. Your phone provider will also have security you can use to protect your phone.

Summary

Even if you're not using your mobile for work it will still hold sensitive information. It's important to protect your mobile, just as you would with a desktop or laptop.

As our workforces become more mobile our smartphones and other mobile devices become more of a target. Follow the steps in this article to make sure your device is protected.

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