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  • Bob Mikler

5 Ways to Secure Your Smartphone

Threats to the security of your digital device are everywhere. If you ever lost your smartphone or had it stolen, you know the sinking feeling you got when you thought of all the data it contained....emails, texts, confidential documents...even "private" photos...all your personal data easily falling into the wrong hands.

With that in mind, we offer you five quick and easy ways to protect your device and data.

  1. Use a passcode. A password (PIN) can prevent others from unlocking your device, and is the easiest way to protect your device. When choosing a PIN or password, avoid using one of the top ten passcodes (1234, 0000, 2580, 1111, 5555, 5683, 0852, 2222, 1212, 1998) Also, don't use your birthday or anniversary, instead use something that you, and only you, would know.

  2. Use encryption. Encryption scrambles phone data so it can't be read by unauthorized users. iPhones encrypt data by default when you turn on a passcode. On Android devices, you will often need to turn on encryption manually. The University of California - San Francisco website has step-by-step instructions on turning on encryption.. The navigation on your device may be somewhat different, depending on the model of phone or the android version, but the basic idea is to navigate to Settings>Security, then look for the "Encrypt device" option. Once located, follow the onscreen instructions to encrypt your device.

  3. Scrutinize permission requests. Many apps, particularly on Android, ask for more permissions than they necessarily need. For instance, why would a wordsearch game need to know your location? Remember, although there is a certain amount of “vetting” that app marketplaces do, you cannot weed out all the harmful apps. On iPhones, you can block the app’s access to particular features or data. With Android, you may have to simply avoid certain apps.

  4. Stick to official app stores. Most smartphone malware is being distributed through third-party app stores, typically located in places like Russia and China. Apple and Google, by contrast, have done a good job of keeping bad apps out of their stores.

  5. Make use of “find my phone” features. Apple's “Find My iPhone”, and Google's Android Device Manager, help users locate lost phones and allow them to delete data from stolen ones. Once activated, a device cannot be used without the password. This has proven to be a big theft deterrent.

These are very basic, quick things that anyone can do to protect their confidential data. Join our e-mail list below to stay abreast of new information, tips, and tricks, to secure the data on your personal electronic devices.

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