According to Statista, mobile phone users will surpass the mark of 5 billion by the year 2019. The blasphemy of this fact is that cybercriminals are constantly in the lookout for mobile users who are vulnerable to hacking attacks. Mobile phones have made our lives easier, but they have significant security issues if used negligently.
It has become inevitable to follow the best practices that ensure mobile device security, more because enterprises and companies are increasingly using BYOD strategy wherein employees have to bring their personal mobile device for increased productivity.
Let’s discuss at length the mobile security best practices that prevent the unauthorized access of your data.
1. Update your operating system and apps at regular intervals
Developers constantly check the operating systems and apps for bugs and weak points and release the updates after the necessary rectification. Once the updates are available, you should promptly update the operating system or apps.
Here’s how you can do it in iOS.
Go to Settings>> General>> Software Update
If you are an Android user, go to Settings>> About>> System Update
2. Get suitable security features
Anti-theft apps like Find My iPhone can help you in locating the phone and even erase the data from a remote location if you are unable to find the device. You can use this facility by going to Settings>> Accounts & Passwords>> iCloud>> Find My iPhone
For Android users, this feature can be accessed through google.com/android/devicemanager. To delete the data of the device and make sure it remains locked in case of theft, go to Settings>> Security>> Device administrators.
Check the option – “Android Device Manager”.
Moreover, you should always check the app permissions that they access. Often, apps ask for additional permissions beyond the default ones. You should be wary of these bugs that may compromise your privacy.
In iOS, you can change this by going to Settings >> Privacy.
For enhanced security, iOS users can also turn off the features accessible on the lock screen. Just go to Settings >> Touch ID & Passcode >> Passcode Lock.
If you use an Android device, you can configure the notification settings and adjust the permissions. In case you use Android 8.0, you can go to Settings >> Apps & Notifications >> App permissions to check the permissions of various apps.
Sometimes, the permission seeking popup also comes up while the app is running. See the screenshot below.
3. Reduce the access to location
You should select ‘While Using the App’ rather than ‘Always’ whenever you want to allow permission for the location access for iOS devices. This helps you to avoid an app with malware to run in the background.
Users of Android phones only have to go to Settings and turn off the “Location” feature therein.
4. Use only secure Wi-Fi networks
Make sure that the automatic Wi-Fi connection feature is turned off on your devices. Public hotspots should be strictly avoided as they pose a security risk for the device. Free Wi-Fi networks may sell your data and ultimately put your personal information at risk of getting leaked. You can even set up a VPN to prevent the security breach in the transfer of data.
5. Use only website that is secured with SSL:
When you access website on mobile device, make sure that it is secured with SSL certificate. You need to check HTTPS against domain name. Insecure sites may inject virus or malware in your mobile device. It is better to use HTTPS sites instead of HTTP URL. Owners of sites should go for SSL certificate to instill confidence of customers in their websites. Multiple authorities offer SSL certificate at cheapest price, out of which Comodo wildcard SSL is one of the finest SSL that able to secure not only main domain but unlimited sub domains too.
6. Be aware of the risks associated with jailbreaking or rooting
Every device manufacturer puts up the security specifications corresponding to the particular device in order to safeguard the data of the customer. If you jailbreak or root your device, it becomes vulnerable to hacking attacks by eliminating the specifications. It is, therefore, advisable that you do not carry out any jailbreaking or rooting for your device.
7. Have strong passwords and automatic locks for your mobile device
We often overlook the security hazards that surround us and are overconfident about our device privacy. With the increasing number of cyber criminals, you ought to have strong passwords for your device. Refrain from having an easy pattern or passcode such as “123456”. Such passcodes are easily guessed by hackers in case of device theft. You can use biometric authentication features like fingerprints and facial unlock so that it is impossible to get access to your confidential information.
8. Don’t give too much information to apps and websites
While you sign up on new websites and apps, be careful that you only provide the necessary information. If it is not a mandatory field, you may skip adding the details. Before you sign up, be sure to check that the apps and websites are secure enough and have an SSL certificate. Moreover, do not install unnecessary apps and make sure that you download it only from reliable sources like App store on iOS and Google Play Store for Android devices.
9. Use privacy settings on social networking sites
Do not share too much information on your social media sites and apps. Many of these sites display the email address, phone numbers, and address to the visitors by default. It could hamper your privacy and cause serious cyber crimes too in extreme cases.
10. Set firewall policies
You should build firewall policies too if you are an enterprise that has opted for BYOD strategy. By doing so, you limit the traffic that comes from smartphones. Your employees need not access every website and having a firewall helps you to offer the necessary access only. Do not let any third party applications from suspicious sources run on your mobile device, because that is how hackers work.
Third party programs pose a huge threat to the security of mobile devices. If you follow these simple yet effective steps, you can surely keep your mobile device secure and prevent data loss.
To cut the long story short, adhere to the best practices of your respective vendor and ensure that no residual information remains floating on any uninstalled apps or website forms.