How to Keep Your Cell Phone Secure

Easy ways to keep your smartphone safe

When you think of cybersecurity, you might picture a stack of monitors, or maybe a whole server farm with winding cables and flashing lights… 

But the device you have in your hand or pocket for most of the day is just as important to secure. 

Yes: your phone is just as much of a target for threat actors as your laptop, tablet, or any other computer you have. 

Here are 11 easy tips for mobile phone security: 

1. Lock your device with a PIN, password, pattern, or biometrics (like a fingerprint or a facial scan), and never leave it unattended in public. 

2. Use Multi-Factor Authentication for any and all applications possible, including your email, your banking apps—including Venmo, PayPal, or CashApp—and any other apps storing financial information or sensitive data. Other apps to consider include insurance applications, health care applications, and shopping applications with your credit card information. 

3. Turn on auto-lock—because the less you have to think about these habits, the better. And an unlocked phone means free rein to all your data.

4. Uninstall apps you don’t use. Not only are they taking up space and CPU; they are probably storing your data without being updated for security patches. Give them the boot! 

5. Only download apps from trusted sources. Be careful about matching logos and app names when you’re downloading something. Don’t click on a pop-up without expecting some kind of virus! 

6. Keep your phone’s operating system updated. Make sure to update when it’s offered; crucial security patches and updates are your friend. We find it’s easiest to press the “Restart after 2 a.m.” option that’s usually available, meaning you don’t need to interrupt your phone use to do it.

7. Utilize the “find me” feature. Depending on the type of phone and operating system you have, investigate the “find me” feature and turn it on to prevent loss or theft. 

8. Backup your data. Do you have a lot of photos, notes, and music you don’t want to lose? Makes sense—so, back it up! Cloud storage is a great option, or you can move data to an external hard drive. 

9. Don’t click on links or attachments from unsolicited e-mails or texts. This is an easy way to avoid phishing schemes, and prevent malware or a virus infecting your phone. Keep an eye out for addresses that don’t match, spelling errors, or pressure/urgency in communications. When in doubt, don’t click it. 

10.  Get a VPN, especially if you travel a lot or know you’ll need public WiFi at some point in time.  And if you don’t have a VPN, never connect your phone to public WiFi. It’s not worth the risk!

11. Wipe your old phone before upgrading. When you’re ready for an upgrade, be sure you delete absolutely everything from your old phone before donating or recycling it. Here’s how:  

  • Backup your data 
  • Encrypt your data on the device (if you haven’t already) 
  • Remove your account 
  • Perform a factory reset

Staying Cybersafe Means Staying Smart on All Your Devices!

Most folks these days use their phones for just about everything, from sending friends money for dinner, to booking an oil change. This means a lot of your personal information is stored on your phone, so it’s a smart move to take its security seriously. 

If you have any other cybersecurity questions, we can answer them during a free 15-minute assessment.