With the topic of security issues of smartphones, there's could never been a better time to spread the awareness regarding the ways and efforts you may be putting to save your data from risk. Modern advancements in mobiles indicate that there's always something or other at stake which is more than losing mere contacts or text messages if a mobile gets lost or been stolen. And even if one doesn't use a phone to access the internet or store much sensitive data, still he could be at risk if he has not protected his phone properly. Here I have compiled few concerns and sketched out the ways by which one might be generally putting himself at risk with his phone, and also the ways to ensure that people like us don't become part of the rising number of victims who are being the direct target of malicious offenders.
Use a PIN or Key lock code
There are various ways now available in your smart phone itself to protect it from a loss. Some of them phones offer a "pattern lock" – presented in a personalised shape or pattern which can be drawn on the screen to get access to its data, and this is certainly faster and more hassle-free than entering a password. Simultaneously a PIN code is a numeric alternative to the standard password which can also save your valuable time. It is obvious that a password which is easy to guess is not much secure – so we don't need to remind you that avoid setting up a password like "1234", or other common phrases and even your birthday.
A screen lock would be useful but it can't stop anyone from removing your SIM card and using it in another handset. To prevent this type of dangerous occurrences, it is always better to set up a SIM card lock in the way you do in case of a PIN number, which will be entered whenever the phone is turned on to get connected to a network.
If you keep both of these security measures in place, this much can be rest assured that if a phone is stolen it will be of no use for an average thief.
Protect sensitive data
Whereas PIN entry and password locks were the usual method to protect mobile phones even a few years ago, today you're carrying almost a miniature computer which has its own easily removable storage option. So by simply preventing someone from turning a phone on wouldn't be sufficient anymore, as in recent days it is nothing to retrieve data just by plugging it in a computer or by removing the micro SD card.
Therefore protecting the sensitive data which may be saved into an internal storage is a must, and thankfully few numbers of solutions are available around. Most smartphone platforms are offering a software which can encrypt files or folders on a device that consists of an industry-standard protection. This means that a code has to be entered before a file gets copied or viewed.
Apart from these sorts of software, there are some security vendors who are recommending that sensitive data should be stored remotely on a secure online server, rather than on the phone itself. This suggests that not only there should be any physical data on a phone which could be accessed, but in case of a handset being lost or stolen it should be easy to change the login details for the server or remove the data altogether.
Bluetooth is a device which isn't seen as a potentially risky ventures for most mobile users, so a relatively short-range, say around 10m at which it is accessible will mean that it is automatically a safe option. However mishaps do still happen, and therefore it is very necessary to be aware of the pitfalls of leaving this technology switched on when your phone is not in use. The hackers have found out a system to remotely access a phone if they are within that stipulated range and use it for making calls, access to sensitive data, listen to conversations or browse the internet.
A preventive measure to stop this from happening will always be a good idea to set as the default Bluetooth configuration to a "non-discoverable" mode by default. This also indicates that hackers around you who are searching for a potential target won't find your device popping up on their list.
Rooting your phone
One of the most popular practices among the Android users is "rooting" a phone. This will essentially involve modifying a file system allowing users to access the read-only files and also the parts of the operating system which the manufacturer or service provider would not want you to change. The advantages of such rooting of a phone will include the ability to change or remove the read-only applications that you generally don't use, change the booting screen, back up the entire system, running specialised applications, installing custom user interfaces and alternative versions of the OS. But usually only experts can do this Rooting so one should therefore be aware of its potential dangers. But be careful if someone offers you to root a phone for you showing its benefits, as it is always important to be aware of the security risks of a device which connects to everything that is important in life.
Backing up your data
After discovering that your phone has been lost or stolen is bad itself, but it goes even worse when the potential damage which could be done by any anonymous user by accessing any sensitive data like important documents, messages, contacts, appointments and other information. As a prevention to this sort of mishaps one should ensure that regular backups are taken in regular basis. Fortunately now there are plenty of ways available to avoid it. In most modern handsets, the system allows users to "synchronise" information with a computer or a website for better productivity or for mere backup purposes. This may include e-mails and contacts with Microsoft Outlook, where the photos are uploaded to an online storage or a proprietary software that is supplied by the phone manufacturer to create a backup key data in case of any loss.
In recent days the news of mobile hacking is getting increasingly common. Before you become one of those victims and risk your privacy in the hands of unethical people, it is better to invest in some of these measures if not all of them.
A practical and useful guide needed for all smartphone users. Now a days hacking has become common and need to be careful. Google and Microsoft are working on "Kill Switch' which is built-in the OS so that only the genuine owner can lock the phone so that even if the SIM card is changed the phone will not open. Apple is already having such features built-in.
Till such time let us incorporate the tips provided by Techulator.
The efforts of the author to list down all important measures to ensure safety of our smartphones are much appreciated. I too believe that taking back-up of data is an important ongoing activity as you never know when the need arises to refer to the data back-up. I would add two more steps to the list of steps for keeping our smartphones safe. This is regarding downloading mobile tracking apps like Android Lost and similar ones to ensure our phones get tracked easily whenever they are lost. Also, one should always take a phone insurance to ensure they less damage in case something happens to the smartphone.
The suggestions from you were really useful and they have really assured me a lot.