Having a smartphone gives you a great amount of benefits, but having a good chunk of our life stored in that small device can be dangerous if it gets in the wrong hands. There are special cellular cases that keep your credit cards and even phone locked up tight, but it’s usually what’s inside the phone that has the most value. Think about it, you have personal photos, emails, stored passwords, social media accounts etc that are accessible to anyone once they get their hands on your phone if it is not secure.
There are many ways you can increase the security of your phone, here we share five options you can use to have more peace of mind in case your phone gets lost or stolen.
1- Phone base lock system
Every phone comes with some basic ways you can use to secure your phone, whether you’re using Android OS or iOS, you can use these basic security measures to add an extra layer of security.
For Android OS the options available are:
- Slide Unlock, very low security, it just keeps the phone from opening any apps by accident, not recommended but it is better than nothing, might keep a 2 year old from accessing your phone but I doubt it.
- Facial Recognition, moderate security, this option is better than the slide but it has its flaws, since the technology is still a work in progress there are ways to fool facial recognition software, while it is a little harder today than it was before it still is not that great of a security measure.
- Pattern, good security, if you create a pattern that is not too common this method of security can be very good, once the pattern is set in your muscle memory unlocking with a pattern is really fast. Pattern must be created in a 3 by 3 grid.
- PIN, good security, gives you the option to set a numerical code that can be 4 to 17 digits long, increasing the number of digits gives you greater security but it can take a while to unlock if the PIN is too long.
- Password, excellent security, probably the best option there is to secure your phone, you can create an alphanumeric password just like the one you have for email and other applications, but just as the PIN, if you make it too long it can make it slow to access your phone.
- Fingerprint scanner, excellent security, Biometrics in action, scanners are still not available in all phones but they work really good on the ones that have them, we will probably see them in the coming years as a base feature in phones.
For Apple iOS the options available are:
- PIN, good security, depending on your version of iOS you can set a 4 or a 6 digit numeric code to unlock.
- Alphanumeric Code, excellent security, allows the user to set an alphanumeric code that can be more complex than the PIN code.
- Touch ID, excellent security, just as the Android fingerprint option iOS offers its own biometric security feature to scan your fingerprint.
2- Use a password manager
Instead of relying on your browser’s option to remember a password, use a password manager, the key to using a password manager is to choose a strong main password, that way if anyone has access to your phone they won’t be able to take a peek at your password collection.
There are many great password managers, here are a few worth mentioning:
- LastPass – Has a free desktop version and a paid mobile version ($12 a year to use on multiple devices)
- 1Password – Available for Windows, OS X, Android and iOS ($50 per license or $69 for a bundle license for Windows and OS X)
- Dashlane – Free account to use on one device ($39.99 a year to use on multiple devices)
3- Use cloud storage
Sensitive files should be kept somewhere with an extra layer of security, cloud storage allows you to have your files accessible to you from a desktop computer or a mobile device with the added security of having to input your password to access the files.
The most popular cloud storage options are:
- Google Drive – 15GB Free Storage, $1.99 / month for 100GB, $9.99 / month for 1TB.
- Dropbox – 2GB Free Storage, $9.99 / month for 1TB storage.
- Box – 10GB Free Storage, $11.50 / month for 100GB storage.
- One Drive – 5GB Free Storage, $1.99 / month for 50GB storage.
- iCloud Drive – 5GB Free storage or $0.99 / $2.99 / $9.99 for 50GB / 200GB / 1TB Respectively.
4- Install antivirus software
Some time ago viruses were pretty rare when it came to phones, with the release of consumer smartphones the change of getting a virus on your phone increased. You’re still safer from getting a virus on a phone than on a computer, the difference lies on how software is installed, on a computer you’re free to install anything from anywhere and a lot of files are infected online, when you’re on a phone the app usually has been reviewed and can only be accessed through the Apple app store or the Google play store, this makes it harder to catch a virus, but still, it is better to be on the safe side. Here are some recommendations for mobile antivirus.
For Android OS some options available are:
CM Security – Free antivirus, offers your basic antivirus protection plus other security options such as applock, privacy cleaner, and Wi-Fi Scanner.
AVG AntiVirus – Offers a free and a premium version, the premium version has some excellent added features like “Camera Trap” to email you a photo of whoever is trying to unlock your phone, or “Device Lock” to lock your phone if the SIM card is replaced.
There you have it, take some time to check your phone security settings before it gets in the wrong hands!