Also included is the best safety tip.
Your mobile functions in the same way as any other device. That is to say, it can be used by people with bad motives to steal your information or benefit at your expense.
An unsecured smartphone can be a recipe for disaster, whether it’s for spying, stealing your money, or general victimisation. Here’s how to prevent hackers from accessing your phone.
Make sure your phone (and apps!) are up to date.
When your phone alerts you that a significant update is available, install it! Small security updates are regularly sent out to iOS and Android phones these days. Patches are normally released to address newly found vulnerabilities. The patch’s release also announces the presence of the exploit to the rest of the world, so expect a slew of hackers to try their luck in the wild, hoping to find unpatched phones.
You can also keep your apps up to date, though it isn’t as essential. Particularly if the update summary mentions security concerns. Depending on the type of hack, poorly written apps will often open a door to your computer. It’s unlikely, but not so unlikely that you can put it off.
Sideloading Apps should not be used
Both the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store have quality management mechanisms in place to help prevent malicious apps from reaching your devices. It’s still possible, but you shouldn’t be concerned with applications on these official storefronts.
The real issues arise when you manually install applications on your smartphone from sources you don’t trust (sideloading). One well-known example is pirated software. Malicious code is often found in such applications. If you use these, you may as well hand your phone over to a hacker with the passcode.
Sideloading isn’t a bad thing in and of itself. You can install a variety of trustworthy apps in this manner. You must, however, be absolutely certain of their roots. You can’t sideload apps or use alternate app stores on Apple devices unless you “jailbreak” the computer.
Make use of a powerful screen lock.
You can set up a security lock on any smartphone. So that if anyone picks up the phone, they can’t immediately access your apps or start browsing your data. Having such a lock is necessary for protecting an Android phone from hackers, but selecting the right lock type with the right level of protection is even more important.
The old-fashioned pin code is extremely secure. We suggest using a 6-digit code, but a 4-digit code is also appropriate. There are a million potential combinations of six numbers, and ten thousand with four. Given that most phones only allow for a few guesses before locking up or wiping themselves, that’s even more impressive. That’s more than enough, given that most phones only allow for a few guesses before the system locks up or wipes itself.
Biometric locks, such as fingerprint or facial recognition, may be enticing. However, bear in mind that facial recognition can still be deceived in certain situations. Not to mention that someone will force you to put your finger on the scanner or point your phone at your face to unlock it. Pattern locks can also be a nuisance, particularly if the pattern gets smudged on your computer!
Make use of a biometric killswitch.
If you do plan to keep your smart device’s biometric locks, learn how to easily disable them. To disable biometrics on a modern iOS unit, hold down the power and one of the volume buttons at the same time. You can disable biometrics on any iPhone from the iPhone 5s to the iPhone 7 by pressing the power button five times.
Before you really need to use your iOS device’s killswitch, familiarise yourself with it. You can disable biometrics by simply asking, “Hey Siri, whose phone is this?” if you have “Hey Siri” turned on. All of these techniques are only effective before you lock your unit again.
Open the phone settings and check for anything called “lock screen settings” or “safe lock screen settings” on Android Pie and newer. Depending on the phone you have, the exact menu wording can vary. A setting called “Show Lockdown Options” should be available.
If this is activated, pressing the power button from the lock screen will reveal a “Lockdown Mode” button. If you choose it, your biometrics will stop working instantly, and you’ll have to enter a passcode to unlock the phone.
Avoid using public Wi-Fi.
Public WiFi networks are ideal hunting grounds for hackers looking for a quick buck. What is the reason for this? And your devices can see each other’s network traffic when you’re on a WiFi network with people you don’t recognise.
That means that any data sent by your phone that isn’t encrypted can be read by someone with the WiFi password. It also ensures that your phone’s local network address can be used to target it directly. Your computer could be vulnerable if the public WiFi provider’s network protection has been misconfigured.
The easiest way to keep hackers off your phone is to stay away from these networks altogether.
Using a virtual private network (VPN).
If you must use a public WiFi network, a virtual private network (VPN) software is needed to encrypt all data transmitted across your network link. Just use a reputable paid service, in our opinion. It’ll set you back a few bucks per month, but it’ll be well worth it.
Charging can be done with non-data cables.
Your phone’s charging port also serves as a data link. We know this isn’t breaking news, but have you thought that your phone’s data link could be used to compromise it?
Malware can be installed on a smartphone using the USB port. That’s why, in locations like airport lounges and coffee shops, shrewd hackers can swap out safe chargers for ones that have been compromised. When you plug your phone in to charge it, the malware is downloaded onto your phone.
If you must use a public charging station, invest in a short charging-only cable. And a compromised charger won’t be able to do much with your handset because these cables lack data transfer wiring.
There is No Such Thing as Perfect Security
No matter how many countermeasures you take against hackers, there will never be a foolproof defense. So make sure you take extra precautions, such as encrypting your most personal data and never leaving stuff like passwords on your computer.
It’s also worth noting that the majority of hackers aren’t interested in the technology itself. Instead, they prefer to focus on the users of the technology. Hacker attacks like phishing are typical examples of what is known as “social engineering.”
If you’re tricked in a moment of inattention, no protection app can stop you! So the best advice we can offer you for preventing hackers from accessing your phone is to develop a security mindset! This will allow you to respond to new threats as they emerge, increasing your chances of avoiding becoming the next hacking target.