The Ultimate Guide to Phone Security
Your phone is so much more than just a tool for communication. It’s where you store your precious photos, exchange files and even create videos. As such, it’s vital to keep it well protected.
Although phone theft and hacking are rare, both can happen. Here’s a run-through of the common security problems your phone might face, and how to tackle them.
Phone theft – the facts
Exact figures are unknown, but it’s thought that around half a million Brits have their phone stolen each year. Statistically, young people (between the age of 18 to 21) are more likely to be victims of phone theft, with 22-24 year olds following close behind.
Thieves are incredibly enterprising when it comes to stealing phones. They’ll usually have a firm idea of what they’ll do once the phone is in their grasp; which could be anything from extracting your precious data, to selling the handset abroad.
It’s vital to know what steps to take if your phone does get stolen, and even better; how you can make your device less attractive to criminals. Taking out insurance is a great way to protect yourself if the worst does happen.
Phone hacking – a rising problem
It’s alarmingly easy for a criminal to hack into your phone. Most users don’t take any precautions against hacking (for example, having a multi-layered security stack in place), and as such, they leave themselves vulnerable.
We recommend that you become familiar with the ways that hackers can gain access to your phone, and also that you find out how to detect if someone is tracking your SIM card. There are several simple ways to reduce the risk of hacking, and every additional protective measure helps.
It is also Important to be aware of the latest scams that are targeting mobile phone users. Whether these are telephone calls from people impersonating a worker from HM Revenue & Customs, or a criminal cloning your phone and getting access to your calls, texts and data.
There’s also the recent security issues with using public Wi-Fi, where people criminals are gaining access to peoples banking details where they’re mobile banking on an unsecured public Wi-Fi. It’ important to understand the difference between a secured and unsecured network; find out more in our handy guide:
Is someone watching you?
There’s a growing concern about camera access on devices – and whether a criminal can ‘see’ what you’re seeing via your camera. In basic terms – yes, they can. Your camera can be set to record whenever you’re using a specific app. Your photos can be uploaded without you knowing. Even more worryingly, some sophisticated hackers use face recognition to detect your unique features.
That’s not to say you need to be paranoid, but you do need to exert some caution. You could even look into ways of making your smartphone 100% undetectable.
Phone security – taking action
There are several steps you can take to make your phone safer and more secure.
- Don’t leave it anywhere where it could be easily stolen (e.g. in your back pocket, or on a table in a busy place).
- Don’t download apps if you’re not 100% sure that they’re safe to use.
- Protect your phone with the right apps and software (some are even free to download).
- Insure your phone – this provides extra peace of mind if your handset is stolen or hacked into.
- Use strong passwords; or better still, layered security (e.g. a password, followed by a personal question that only you’d know the answer to).
- Don’t share information with anyone you don’t completely trust.
Having a phone stolen or attacked by hackers is irritating at best. At worst, it can be seriously disruptive and costly. By taking the necessary phone security steps, you’ll be minimising the risks.