The following is a guest blog by Alicia diVittorio, smartphone safety advocate, Lookout
Lets face it: we are constantly plugged into our smartphones. They have become an essential part of our lives, even to the point where we feel panicked without them! We store our email and social accounts, access to mobile banking, photos, contacts and more, on our smartphones – so protecting it is more important than ever! Here are a few simple steps you can take to keep your phone safe:
1. Set a password. A password is your first line of defense to protect your privacy, and it keeps snoopers out if your phone is lost or stolen. Setting a strong password for your phone and enabling the screen auto-lock is one of the simplest ways to keep your personal information safe.
2. Keep your phone current. Spend the few extra minutes downloading software updates on yourphone so it is up-to-date. Often times, updates include fixes to security issues found in older editions of the phone’s operating system. Just like a PC, updating your phone gives you the one-up on hackers and malware.
3. Treat your phone like a computer. As phones become more powerful, and we use them for more things, they can become bigger targets for security threats. To protect yourself and your private data from malware and spyware, download a security app like Lookout.
4. Use discretion when downloading apps. One of the most exciting things to do with your smartphone is download apps. But to avoid downloading bad apps (i.e., apps embedded with malware and spyware), make sure to only download apps from trustworthy sites, like the App Store or Google Play. Check an app’s ratings and browse through user reviews to ensure the app is widely respected.
5. Watch out for shady links. In the U.S., 4 in 10 smartphone users will click on an unsafe link on their phones this year. If you have a gut feeling that the link doesn’t seem legit, it probably isn’t! Take extra precaution when clicking on links to avoid fraud or identity theft. Use a security app, like Lookout, that will warn you if you encounter a bad link.
6. Download a “find my phone” app. On average, people in the U.S. lose their phones once a year. To avoid losing your phone, always keep it in the same place (i.e., a purse or shelf while at home), and always check that it’s on you before leaving a restaurant or crowed public place. Stay ahead of the game and download an app like Lookout that helps you find your phone in case it’s lost or stolen, so if the worse does happen, you have a better chance of getting it back.
Taking the necessary steps to protect your phone is simple. Following these guidelines to protect your phone will not only make your phone safe, it will also give you peace of mind.
For smartphone safety tips for families and children, check out Generation Smartphone: A Guide for Families of Teens & Tweens.