If you’re not using antivirus protection on your smartphone, you could have malware right now and not even know it. And your phone contains all of your personal information, contacts, and even banking information. You need to protect it from hackers and scammers.
Antivirus for your mobile phone can help, but it’s not the only tool you have in your arsenal. You need to keep your phone locked with a password, use strong passwords, and activate your phone’s built-in protective features. Let’s take a closer look at how you can protect your phone from malware, viruses, and hackers.
Avoid Using Public Phone Charging Stations
Those public phone charging stations in airports and libraries sure come in handy, don’t they? Well, they come in handy for hackers, too. Criminals can tamper with these USB charging ports and use them to steal information from your phone. You should only charge your phone at trusted ports, like those in your car or on your computer. Carry your phone charging cable and USB-to-wall adapter with you when you travel or go out, so you can safely charge your phone at any wall outlet.
Install an Antivirus App
Just like you need to install antivirus apps onto your desktop, laptop, and tablets, you need to use an antivirus program for your phone. Smartphone antivirus apps are often manufactured by the same companies that make antivirus apps for laptops and desktops, and they’re typically phone-friendly versions of those same programs. A smartphone antivirus app will scan pdfs, pictures, apps, and files before you download them, to ensure you aren’t inadvertently installing malware.
Use Your Phone’s Built-in Security Features
Every smartphone has built-in security features that can do a lot to protect your device from malware, viruses, and hackers. Turn on the Find My iPhone or Find My Device feature so that you can locate your phone if it goes missing. These tools can be really useful if you simply mislay your phone around the house, but they can be a lifesaver if your phone is stolen, too. Not only can they locate your phone on the map, but they also offer an option to wipe your phone remotely if it falls into the hands of a criminal. You can even set your phone to wipe itself after a certain number of incorrect password attempts, usually 10.
Use Two-Factor Authentication
Some people think two-factor authentication (2FA) is kind of a pain, but it’s well worth using to protect your sensitive personal information. 2FA implements an extra step in the login process of any app or service you’re using, so that you have to receive a code to your smartphone or email address in order to gain access to the service or app in question. That way, if someone gets their hands on your password, they still won’t be able to access your account.
Don’t Use Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks sure can be convenient, but they can also make your data vulnerable. They just aren’t secure. inside a tunnel to snoop on your activity when you use a public network. Use your smartphone’s data connection and switch Wi-Fi off when you’re in a public place. Or, consider using a virtual private network (VPN) app to encrypt your data and hide your activity inside a tunnel.
Lock Your Phone
If you don’t use a passcode or biometrics to lock your phone, anyone can pick it up and access your contacts, emails, photos, banking information, and more. If you lose your phone in a public place or it gets stolen, you don’t want someone to be able to access your data with just a swipe.
A four- to six-digit passcode can add another layer of protection to your device, so you don’t have to worry so much about someone gaining access to your data if your phone is lost or stolen. If you don’t want to use a passcode, you can use biometric security measures like fingerprint scanning or facial identification. Make sure you’re using password protection on any apps that contain personal information, such as email, banking apps, shopping apps, and social media.
Your phone isn’t safe from malware just because it’s only a phone. Smartphones are basically just tiny computers, and they need the same antivirus and antimalware protection that computers do. When you take the right steps to protect yourself, you can avoid expensive malware and ransomware infections, and even protect your data if your phone is lost or stolen.