Technology has officially taken over, with over 2.7 billion smartphone users in the world today. But despite the popularity of these devices, there are a number of security vulnerabilities you should be aware of.
Many people forget just how much private and sensitive information is actually stored on these devices. Your smartphone, tablet, and laptop may contain details about your job, finances, and personal life. In fact, these devices may actually be connected to systems such as your bank account.
Due to this, device security is more important than ever. Unfortunately, a number of individuals tend to be rather slack in this area. So, if you are looking to bolster your device’s defences, here are the top things that you should do:
Improve your first line of defence
As far as the real world is concerned, your first line of defence is your screen. Or, to be more precise, your screen security. Most phones will give you the option of selecting either a pattern or a PIN to unlock your phone.
It is always best to choose the PIN when it is time to decide. This is because researchers have found that patterns can be cracked rather easily if someone happens to even glance at your screen. PINs, on the other hand, are a lot more difficult to remember, particularly if someone isn’t too close in proximity to you.
If you have a newer phone, then a fingerprint scanner is the way to go. After all, the average thief isn’t going to be able to hack your fingerprint. However, given enough time they just may be able to guess your password.
For most laptops and tablets, a strong enough passcode – complete with random, alphanumeric characters – is often enough to keep most people at bay.
Limit access to your devices
If you think that a strong passcode is enough to keep your information safe, think again. In the wrong hands, these passwords can be broken into. This will be a lot easier to manage if the criminals have enough details to guess your passwords.
Thus, you should limit the number of people who have access to your devices. When it comes to your personal phone and tablet, make sure that only trusted family members and friends have the password. If you do have to give out the code to someone else, change it as soon as they are done using the device.
If you are using a company laptop, then you are the only person who should have access to the device. After all, you are responsible for all of the data that is present on the computer. In case you do have to give to a colleague, assess that they can be trusted.
Use an authenticator app as an added measure
These days, Google and many other systems work on what is known as a two-factor authentication process or 2FA. This way, when you try to sign in to an account, you need to provide additional verification that it is you who is trying to do so. What’s great about this is that even if someone managed to get your username and password, they will have to come up against this obstacle.
Now, 2FA over SMS isn’t as secure as you need it to be. This is because they can be intercepted and then an external party would have access to your code. To overcome this issue, you should download an authenticator app instead. With this, distinctive codes will be created on your phone within moments.
Install Find My Device
How many times have you misplaced your phone or tablet and had a mini heart attack? On this occasion, there are also criminals to think about. A great solution for both of these situations is to install the “Find My Device” system onto your devices.
This way, even if you don’t have your phone, you can log in from a different location and access it. This gives you the opportunity to change various settings, track the device, and even power it back up. If you are unable to recover your device, it also gives you the opportunity to wipe most of what is on your phone too.
Encrypt your device
Since there is no guarantee that your device won’t be stolen, it is important to encrypt all your devices. The good news for you is that it is now easier to do than ever before. Most manufacturers will provide you with this option on your own device. If it isn’t available, it is often just a matter of downloading free software.
When it comes to your phone, you can take the following steps:
Settings > Security & Location > Encryption > Encrypt Device
Keep in mind that this option is only available if you already have a pattern, PIN, or fingerprint lock already activated. If this isn’t the case, you will need to first activate this mechanism before you can encrypt your device.
For your laptop, it is a similar process:
Control Panel > BitLocker Drive Encryption
Then you will have to “Turn On BitLocker” next to the drive that you would like to encrypt. At this point, you will be expected to come up with an alphanumeric code that will lock and unlock the encryption.
Have an emergency option
If you are using a newer Android model, then you should have the option to select a Lockdown mode. In most instances, this can be accessed by holding down the power button. If it doesn’t appear, simply go to the Lock screen settings.
Scroll down and you should find the Lockdown option here. Once it is enabled, a number of functions will be shut down, including the fingerprint scanner and the Smart Lock feature. In fact, you will not be able to see any notifications either. To undo all of this, you will need to unlock your phone using a passcode.
These are all of the device security precautions that we recommend you to take to keep your devices secure in 2019. When there is so much information on your phone, tablet, and laptop you can’t risk it falling into the wrong hands. So, take the necessary steps.
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Author Bio: Jesse Powell is a tech blogger who keeps an eye on the ever-changing trends in technology. He loves sharing his findings with anyone who is willing to listen. When he isn’t working, he can be found playing video games.