I’ve decided to compile a few tips on how to make your phone more secure. We all know about the issues regarding data breaches, malware, and general wrongdoing when it comes our phones. Fortunately, there are some ways out there that can protect us all from those who want to do us harm in the digital universe.
1. Password management:
Remember, passwords let you into various applications, your email, and other important parts of your online life. Depending on how you unlock your phone, passwords will actually enable you to use your phone. Keep in mind, a good password will keep you protected for some of the most important parts of your digital life.
So to make your phone a little more secure, make sure your password is adequate enough to not be guessed easily. A good password has mixed case letters, numbers, and special characters. You can take important words in your life, weave in some numbers, flip it backwards, and add a couple of special characters, and have a perfect password.
Use the word Buffalo
Flip the word: olaffuB
Switch some numbers in: 01affuB
Voila! Perfect password. (Well maybe not perfect, but it’s not bad at least..) You can take a vast amount of words and modify them ever so slightly to make a pretty decent password.
Variety is the spice of life. Vary your passwords from login to login. That way, if one password is compromised, you don’t have to worry about the rest of your passwords if you have some variety with your password decisions.
If you have a lot of passwords to remember, keep them in a safe place. Password Management apps such as LastPass and 1Password, were made for us poor souls with more passwords to manage then weeks of the year. With password management apps, a user can maintain multiple passwords in a single place on their phone, and password protect that place (or lock with with a fingerprint scanner, perhaps), and not have to constantly remember which password goes to what service. It can definitely get difficult.
Do not make your password the same as your user name. It’s surprising to see how many folks have their username as their password. Even if you are trying to play some mind tricks, making the password the same as your username is a disaster waiting to happen.
Some of the easiest, most common passwords that exist in the world right now are passwords like the list you see below, from Splash Data’s Worst Passwords List 2016 edition:
For the record, lists like the list that contains these words come out annually, and the entrants become worse it seems as the years go on. These are all incredibly common, yet incredibly stupid passwords to use for your personal, vital information. But its definitely surprising how often passwords like these are used. While I’m sure people use passwords such as the list above for some reason, just think of all of the problems that would occur if someone were to break into a system easily with a weak password.
Make sure you put some effort into making your password. If you can use a healthy mix of numbers, letters, and special characters, you will be protecting yourself, your family, and your loved ones around you from any thefts or and data breaches in the future.
2. Falling for the Nigerian Prince/Princess/new online girlfriend scheme; If its too good to be true, it absolutely is.
Everyone remembers the spam emails that tell readers that they’ve been given millions of dollars, and all they have to do is some generally illegal thing (holding money, taking in weird wires, etc, it gets worse) in order for the reader to claim the money. When you delve into the situation a bit more, the hoax reveals itself; no matter how legit the email sounds. No matter what, if an email is sent regarding money, and confidential email, NEVER follow along with the plan.
Always make sure that you know the person that sent you the email before you act towards the request. Simply put, if you have something that sounds too good to be true, it most definitely is. Conversely, if someone sends you an email asking for your personal information, delete the email and don’t look back. Financial institutions, lending institutions, basically any professional institution worth anything would never ask you for any personal information over an email. If you see a suspicious email, you can always reach out the company independently without giving the initial email any information.
3. Watch where you are headed when surfing the web!
Sometimes, you can be searching the web, minding your own business without a care in the world, and wind up on a shady website that could potentially be harmful to your system. You can always watch for the lock signal either at the top of the bottom of the website. If you happen to wonder upon a non-reputable site, you can possibly end up with an infected computer, or worse, a broken computer. Some reputable sites can be hiding some very dangerous issues under the hood. Sometimes, a website posing as a reputable site, can even be a sophisticated phishing attack on unsuspecting people. There are tons of news articles discussing the real danger behind spoof websites including this Apple site that was mentioned on 9to5Mac.
If you notice a website that is asking for confidential information, be very careful about what you are putting into that website. Also, make sure you check the validity of the website you are on, by looking for the secure site logo, which usually looks like a padlock in one of the corners of the website. Also, make sure that the beginning of the website says “https” versus “http”. You can have a bit more safety with a website that starts with https.
4. Other things to think about when using your phone:
Always be careful when you use your phone out on the town, and always be careful when you do things like go out of town on vacation. Make sure that when you are away from your home wifi set up, use a VPN (virtual private network) when using your phone, which will help in protecting your important data. There are different VPN options available to use like ExpressVPN, and Tunnelbear, that will help secure your information on your phone.
Hopefully, you can take some of of these tips to help yourself have fun and be safe when using your phone!