Five Easy Tips to Protect Your Smartphone from Hackers

According to a 2015 Pew Research study, 64% of Americans own a smartphone. Many of us depend on our mobile phone for business communications, online banking, shopping, navigation, and staying connected through text messaging and social media. However, 39% of American mobile users do not protect their devices with a password and 60% do not install any anti-virus software according to a 2015 study by CTIA – The Wireless Association. Hackers, fraudsters, and threats are not going away, but there are some simple actions you can take to better protect your smartphone and other mobile devices.

1. Auto-Lock Your Phone with Password or Biometric
Configure your settings to automatically lock your phone when it’s not being used (e.g. after 2 minutes). Set your phone to require a password/PIN or a biometric fingerprint scan to unlock the phone.

2. Install a Security App
Norton, McAffee, and others offer effective virus and malware protection for all types of phones and mobile devices.

3. Enable a “Find My Phone” App
Most new smartphones come with this free app that enables you to remotely find a lost phone. If you learn that the phone was stolen, this app can send a signal to erase your phone’s data. The catch is that you need to configure the app before it gets lost.

4. Do Not Automatically Connect to Available Wi-Fi
Disable your phone’s ability to automatically connect to Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Ideally, you want to connect only to connections that are familiar and secure, like your office or home network. This will help prevent your phone from transmitting data without your knowledge.

5. Perform Updates to Operating System and Apps
It seems like Apple and Droid are constantly releasing new updates.  You are right, and many of those have to do with security patches. Keeping your phone’s operating system and installed apps updated with latest versions will make your phone a less desirable target to hackers.

These are just a few of the safeguards to help protect your activity on a smartphone. As always, it is important to regularly review your financial accounts for any suspicious activity, and report it immediately.

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