How secure is your smartphone? Away from the iPhone and Android debate, what are your options for providing better smartphone security for your company or yourself? The rapid development in technology has facilitated the integration of phones and other computer accessories into our everyday lives. Being integral and ubiquitous in everyone’s lives, mobile phones have attracted the interest of cyber criminals and especially with the work-from-home policy in place. Below is a look into some of the cyber security features of a smartphone and how to protect your phone from hackers’ activity.
The Layers of Security
All smartphones have three basic elements of security. Your primary duty as a user should be to understand these layers and enable them in your device.
- Device protection – this feature allows for remote data wiping in case the device is stolen or gets lost.
- Data protection – when accessing corporate from a personal device, the data protection feature helps to ensure that corporate data are not transferred to personal apps.
- App – Management Security – protects data in the in-apps from being compromised by malicious third parties.
Smartphone security does not entirely depend on the phone’s security but as well on the mobile device management installed on the company’s servers that controls and manages device security. For example, blackberry smartphones are designed exclusively for business activities, implying that they have an excellent security infrastructure. However, the brand offers a few popular apps and therefore one needs another phone to supplement for personal use such as shopping, banking. Every device added to your network needs to be protected as it acts a as weak-link to your infrastructure. The more the devices you use, the more you should be concerned about the phone’s security of your mobile network, and especially if they are linked together through the cloud.
With the introduction of more and more applications into the industry, especially for the Android and iOS phones, mobile device security continues to be a growing threat despite the type or model you are using. If you install a corrupted application, it doesn’t matter how secure the operating system you are using is. Secure infrastructure for smartphones implies securing the entire stack, that’s, both the operating system and the application on which it runs. Most smartphones have features that enable you to verify the applications to be installed, and especially if they are coming from unknown sources. As a rule of thumb, you should always install your applications from Google Play, Apple, or Microsoft stores rather than getting apps from external third party sources. Anyway, always conduct brief background research to ensure that you are not adding anything suspicious to your system.
Windows Phone Vs Android Vs Blackberry Vs iPhone
Android phones have a questionable reputation as it is not owned by any specific individual. No one controls what can be added or removed as an Android application or worse, what can be offered to consumers as an Android phone. According to Forbes, you can keep your android safe by frequently updating your operating system and avoid downloading applications from unsecured sources or those from the doubtful origin. Recent Android devices support Google’s Android for Work designed to secure workplace applications and uses. As for Apple’s iOS, the operating system is controlled and regulated by Apple Inc. itself. The corporation is in charge of the operating system and strictly dictates applications to be availed in the Apple store. The out of box security feature for Apple Inc. comes at a small price of some user restrictions. Blackberry also controls devices and applications closely. The main difference with Apple is that it’s based on MDM and therefore makes it easy for a company to manage and protect its devices. Windows phone has a centralized control system and a history of security weaknesses. Advancements in technology, however, have seen the performance of the operating system improve over time as more and more users come on board.
How to protect your smartphone from hackers and intruders
Having your phone being hacked is a massive invasion of privacy. It feels like your house has been robbed or even worse, your kid being kidnapped. It’s a violation of your personal space and it may take you a while before figuring out the mess caused by the malicious intruder. Yes, your smartphone holds your valuable, and worse, it accurately signals the intruder of the files that matter to you most out of the junk of your valuables.
Smartphones are portable devices that can be easily stolen or accidentally get to the “wrong hands”. Also, these gadgets are always online sending and receiving emails, messages, and downloading files. So to keep your phone safe and secure, you need to come up with a strategy on how to protect your valuable information from hackers. Below are some tips on how you can achieve a safe “cyberspace” when using a smartphone for day-to-day operations or corporate activities.
Normalize updating your OS and Apps more often
Software companies are releasing software updates frequently, not just for cosmetics, but to improve vital features such as security, efficiency, functionality, etc. Various updates contain security fixes that enhance protection against intrusions, data breaches, and close off vulnerabilities, making it more troublesome for hackers to penetrate the set security walls.
In case update for your operating system is announced to be available, then you should install it right away without hesitation.
Do not connect over public Wi-Fi
Open Wi-Fi is an open source for all online mischief and a hotspot for hackers who aim at easy targets. Always try and use a private network, and switch off your Wi-Fi when in a public place. If you have to use public Wi-Fi to connect, then you should do so via a VPN application, a solution that tunnels network communications through an encrypted connection. Also, always switch off your Bluetooth when out of your residence, unless you have a smartwatch that requires it to be on.
Keep your phone number private
Just as you wouldn’t easily give your number to a stranger hitting on you, so should it be with the online applications asking for the same. The more the number of places your number can be found, the more susceptible you are to SMS intrusions and scams.
Use a 2-FA
This is another extremely unpleasant security measure that most people cannot stand. The two-factor authentication system is more preferred as it adds an extra step, and therefore an added layer of security or rather protection.
Use complex passwords
When it comes to password, always use complex figures and combinations that cannot be easily cracked by hackers. An ideal password should contain 17 to 20 characters with a mix of numbers and letters, upper and lower case numbers, and symbols. Below is an image showing what a simple password would look like as well as a complex or ideal one.
Use in-built device protection
Use an antivirus
Most hackers rely on malware to breach and steal valuable information such as passwords and other significant data. This can be combated by a smartphone antivirus application.
Manage application permissions
Always check your applications to see if they have more than the required level of privilege they should be granted. You can adjust permissions to suit the level of confidentiality you desire. For instance, you can decide to deny or grant permission like access to location, camera, etc.
Back up, back up, back up, and always remember to back up your data in a remote storage unit.
Know the origin of your application
Always download from the play store offered by your operating system. As for the limited choice of iPhone applications availed by iOS, you can side
load from Android. Although, you’ll have to dig deep down the settings to permit its installation and grant the necessary access permissions.