When you’re a mother, cyberattacks on your smartphone privacy may affect not only you, but also your family. Over a million children, equivalent to 1.48 percent of all minors, became victims of identity theft or fraud last year, Javelin Strategy & Research data shows. Identity thieves value children’s Social Security Numbers because they can use them for credit fraud for years before the victim is old enough to discover the crime. Two-thirds of minor identity theft victims are 7 years old or less.
To help protect yourself and your family, it’s crucial to follow good security practices when you use your mobile device. Here are some keys to keeping your privacy safe on your Android smartphone.
Keep Your Device Secure with Advanced Protection Features
A secure smartphone strategy starts with picking the right smartphone. Today’s best smartphones have advanced security features built into them that can help you protect your device. For instance, Android devices that use Qualcomm’s latest mobile artificial intelligence platform have on-device AI that can automatically detect when an intruder is trying to access your phone. On-device AI platforms can also process many applications locally instead of connecting to the cloud, reducing the amount of information you share with the Internet and reducing hackers’ opportunities to steal your data. You can further secure data on your device by activating your phone’s encryption, which will require users to know a password in order to see your data. You should also install an antivirus app on your phone.
Lock Your Phone and Apps
Locking your phone is critical for keeping your data safe in the event that your device falls into the wrong hands. You can lock your phone using a strong password or with a biometric authentication method such as fingerprint scanning or facial recognition, which is supported by phones with on-device AI.
It’s also important to protect the passwords you use to access apps where you share sensitive information, such as social media and banking apps. A strong password should be long and hard to guess, instead of something obvious like your anniversary or your oldest child’s birthday. A password manager app such as Sticky Password Premium can generate long random passwords for you, store them, and enter them automatically without displaying them on your screen, preventing hackers from stealing your password.
Avoid Unsafe Networks and Websites
Another key to staying safe on your smartphone is avoiding insecure network connections. Public Wi-Fi hotspots at locations such as coffee shops are especially vulnerable to hackers, who often lurk in the area waiting to intercept data sent by unsuspecting users. You can protect your data by connecting through a virtual private network (VPN), which uses encryption to keep hackers from decoding your data.
Keep Updated on Security Patches
Malware often targets security vulnerabilities on outdated software. For instance, many ransomware victims fall prey due to outdated operating systems. To prevent this, make sure you follow update instructions for your phone’s operating systems and apps.
Apps obtained from unofficial sources can also contain security vulnerabilities. Only download apps from official sites such as Google Play Store or your bank’s website.
Have a Backup Plan
If your phone does get lost or stolen, it’s important to have a backup plan. One precautionary procedure you should follow is installing an app such as Find My Device, which can allow you to track your phone’s location or remotely wipe your data.
In case you need to remotely wipe your data, or in case your phone gets hijacked by ransomware, you should also back up your data on a regular basis. On Android devices, you can schedule automatic cloud backups by using a backup app such as Helium.
Choosing a device with built-in security features gives you a strong foundation for mobile privacy. Locking your phone and using a password manager for your apps keeps unauthorized users out of your device and accounts. Sticking to encrypted networks and sites prevents hackers from intercepting data you send online. Staying updated on the latest security patches protects you from vulnerabilities in outdated software. Having a backup plan enables you to remotely wipe your data and to restore your data if you need to. Following these steps will help keep you and your family’s data safe when you’re using your smartphone.