Mobile security should be a top priority for any smartphone user. Phones have quickly evolved in recent years to store and share our most sensitive data. Whether managing our finances, social life, or business info, these devices have valuable data from which malicious actors can profit. To stay safe, you'll have to select devices and apps that focus on security.
Many users are not prepared for the risks of using smartphones as a central touchpoint for all their essential data. While much of the weight does fall on users to behave safely, device and software developers have an equal duty to design secure platforms.
Mobile security continues to rise in importance with each passing year. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the most significant factor in this importance, connecting everything from our wallets to our home security systems to our phones. The growth in phone-centric technology opens all endpoint users and businesses alike to dangers.
Among the threats to user safety, these are some of the most common:
- Malware attacks — such as Trojans, spyware, and viruses.
- Cyber scams — like phishing and social media scams.
- Malicious data breaches or leaks — via brute force attacks and malicious insiders, etc.
- Users with weak or unused security features — like passwords and privacy settings.
- Software or hardware with security weaknesses — such as zero-day vulnerabilities.
What's most important when it comes to protecting your personal or company's phones from smartphone security threats is actually the entire software environment. This means both the operating system of the phone and the apps it runs. Choose a phone that has the correct built-in security levels for you. Then, make sure you are only running secure apps on the phone.
Final Takeaway — 10 Tips for keeping your mobile phone safe and secure
- Stay on native app stores and stay off third-party app stores. You should stick to the Apple, Google Play, or Microsoft stores as a rule of thumb. Even in official stores, you should read app reviews and search trusted sites for more information.
- Never download apps without verifying their safety first. Most phones have settings that allow you to confirm any apps coming from unknown sources before downloading. However, always find and read reviews to prevent suspicious apps on your device.
- Always update to the latest OS version as soon as possible. Security patches included in these updates are critical to your phone's security. This simple process can stop entire families of malware from winning the battle of your data wars.
- Consider replacing your phone once it is unsupported by the OS. Outdated phones are teeming with unpatched exploits that hackers intentionally seek out and abuse. Getting a newer, supported phone will help you keep yourself protected from a data breach.
- Set up remote data "wiping." You can log into a web service via any internet browser and clear your phone of all data by allowing remote data deletion. This is an essential service if your device is ever lost or stolen.