It may be a surprise that the biggest risk to your mobile device is not hackers, but most likely you. Users are far more likely to lose or forget a mobile device then have someone hack into it. Ensure that the mobile device locks automatically, and has a strong pass code - a simple pattern or swipe password isn't much of a deterrent. If a device is lost or stolen, a strong password prevents anyone from quickly peeking at personal information. The use of biometric authentication features such as fingerprint scanner and facial recognition makes unlocking the device much more convenient and the security harder to crack. These measures help ensure that no one can access your device if it is lost or stolen.
Enable automatic updating on your devices so they are always running the latest version of the operating system and apps. Attackers are always looking for new weaknesses in software, and vendors are constantly releasing new software updates and patches. By always running the latest operating system and mobile apps, you make it much harder for anyone to hack into your devices. For iOS, users can check for system updates under Settings > General > Software Update. Android users can look for it under Settings > About > System update.
Install or enable software to remotely track your mobile device over the Internet. This way, if your device is lost or stolen, you can connect to it over the Internet and find its location, or in a worst-case situation, remotely wipe all of your information on it. Apps like "Find My iPhone" can also help you locate your phone, track where it is or where it's been, and remotely erase data in case you can't recover the device. Users can activate the feature under Settings > Accounts & Passwords > iCloud > Find My iPhone. Android users have the same feature which they can access at google.com/android/find. If they want to erase the device's data and keep it locked in the event the device goes missing, they can go to Settings > Security > Device administrators and leave the Android Device Manager checked.
Only download apps you need and from trusted sources. For iPads or iPhones, that means download apps from the Apple App Store. For Android, download apps from Google Play; for Amazon tablets, stick with the Amazon App Store. While you may be able to download apps from other sites, these are not vetted and are far more likely to be infected. Also, before downloading an app, check to make sure it has a lot of positive reviews and is actively updated by the vendor. Stay away from brand new apps, apps with few reviews, or ones that are rarely updated. Finally, regardless of where you got your app, once you no longer need or actively use the app, we recommend you delete it from your device.
When installing a new app, make sure you review the privacy options. For example, does the app you just downloaded really need to have access to all your friends' and contacts' information? We also recommend you disable or minimize location tracking for everything. If you are uncomfortable with the permission requirements of an app, find a different one that meets your needs. In addition, periodically check the permissions to ensure they have not changed. Location services or settings, which is usually part of the quick settings feature of iOS and Android, allows apps and websites to use information from cellular, Wi-Fi, GPS networks, and Bluetooth to determine a user's approximate location, which could be a cause for concern. When allowing permission for location access for iOS devices, it is recommended to only select While Using the App instead of Always, as it prevents a malware-ridden app running in the background from stealing a device's location information. Android users can simply avoid the risk by turning off their device's Location, under Settings.
Avoid connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi networks
Turn off the automatic Wi-Fi connection feature on your smartphones or tablets. Users should refrain from connecting to public hotspots as they are not secure, and connecting to them can expose the device to a multitude of risks. If connecting is necessary, avoid logging into key accounts or financial services.
Be wary of unsolicited calls or messages
Attackers use a variety of methods to get users to download malware or reveal personal information. Scan or verify any messages, calls, or emails from unknown senders before opening.
Always back up your data. For mobile devices, a great deal of your information is often backed up automatically, such as your photos or messages. However, backups also store your configurations, apps, and other device information, making it much easier to recover from a lost device or transition to a new one.
When at work, be extra careful and never take any pictures or video that may accidentally include sensitive information, such as pictures of whiteboards or computer screens.
Following these few simple steps can go a long way to keeping you and your devices secure.