As a student, you must have installed numerous apps without second thoughts on your smartphone. But did you know that nearly every smartphone app collects information from your phone including your location history, name, date of birth, credit, and bank account information among other data?
What if your phone is hacked? All of that data can be easily stolen and used by criminals for fraud.
Maybe you also often connect to open Wi-Fi networks that aren’t password-protected or encrypted without knowing that doing so could make anyone nearby easily spy on your online activity.
Learn how to protect your privacy, data, and peace of mind with these simple yet practical tips:
- Install apps from trusted stores
- Uninstall old apps and update the existing ones
- Lock important apps
- Keep your phone away from intruders
- Avoid public or open Wi-Fi networks
- Use a VPN
- Keep your phone data backed up
- Avoid clicking links from unknown sources
- Avoid using the auto-login feature
Use a VPN
Sometimes due to circumstances, you will be forced to use public/open Wi-Fi networks. As such, you shouldn’t connect to any open Wi-Fi network without protection- and this is where a VPN becomes helpful.
A VPN will mask your connection and keep your browsing activity anonymous. This means that your connection will be private at all times when using public Wi-Fi networks. This way, all your sensitive data, documents, and others are protected from snooping.
In 2016, hackers accessed the credit card information of a Singaporean man when he received a mysterious prompt to update his Android system.
What happened afterward was painful. The hackers purchased six flight tickets costing around $12,327 under his name.
As a student, you probably have a ton of apps installed on your smartphone. Some of those apps could appear to be offering free access to services that should be paid for but that could be a trap to transfer a virus to your phone.
In most cases, these apps ask for various permission including the ability to access your camera, use your microphone, or access certain files.
Falling for this trap could end up making your data get stolen. This is especially important for Android users since Google doesn’t have a strict vetting process like Apple. In fact, multiple reports suggest that there are many malicious apps on the Play Store that spend months before they are spotted and removed.
Android also lets you install apps from third-party sources, but this can be a good way for rogue apps to gain access to your phone.
As a rule, you should be careful of the apps you install on your phone. You also need to avoid apps that promise free access to premium content.
You also need to stick to the official app stores. Besides, before installing any app, make sure you read the description and reviews for the apps carefully.
Uninstall Old Apps and Update Existing Ones
How many apps have you installed on your phone that you probably have used once and forgotten that you still have them on your phone? Most of these un-updated apps are the ones that are vulnerable to hackers.
Swipe through your phone carefully and see apps that you don’t need, then remove them from your phone.
Ensure you also delete each account you made on an app that you’re deleting since some apps that have an associated account may carry away data.
Once you have cleared away apps that you no longer use on your phone, update the existing ones and enable auto-updates.
Lock Important Apps
To protect your phone from hackers, Jonathan Andrews, a cyber-security expert recommends keeping all important apps like your email or banking apps locked with a second password. Most of the latest Android and Apple mobile phones can lock important apps. You can also download apps that allow you to lock certain apps like AVG Antivirus Free and many others out there.
Keep Your Phone Away From Intruders
What’d happen if you lost your phone or it got stolen? Assuming it falls in the hands of a fraudster, you could expect to get all sorts of trouble.
Think about if the fraudster accesses your email app and collects all the crucial information.
Apart from locking important apps, ensure your phone is locked when idle. The best thing is that both Android and iOS allow users to enter a six-digit passcode. You could also use other options such as facial recognition or fingerprint to keep your phone locked when not in use.
Avoid Public or Open Wi-Fi Networks
You’ve probably connected your phone to public Wi-Fi whether on a public library or airplane to research or submit your assignment. But did you know that could be an easy way for fraudsters to gain access to your phone and steal your valuable information?
“When using a public or open Wi-Fi, anyone with bad intentions can snoop on your online activity”, says Jerald Goldman, an internet security consultant who offers online assignment help to college students. Besides, traffic on open Wi-Fi networks can be easily intercepted, exposing your phone to attackers.
To keep your phone protected from hackers, only use trusted public Wi-Fi connections.
Keep Your Phone Data Backed Up
Your phone is probably your portable computer where you save important documents, notes, reading materials, photos, and more. Having only one copy of all these important items can be disastrous assuming your phone is lost or hacked.
As a rule, you should back up your phone at all times.
The good thing is that both Android phones and iPhones have simple ways of backing up data regularly.
Avoid Clicking Links from Unknown Sources
You probably research or read emails using your phone or use it to do other online activities.
For many years, hackers have been sending malicious links via emails. They will attract your attention by using catchy email subjects or pretending to be people you’re familiar with.
Clicking on these links could potentially expose your phone to hackers. To protect your phone from hackers, avoid opening emails that look enticing or those with suspecting links.
Avoid Using the Auto-Login Feature
For convenience, you must have set all your online accounts to log in without requiring you to enter your log-in details. However, this could be another avenue for hackers to gain access to all your online accounts.
As a rule, you shouldn’t use the auto-login feature on all your online accounts.
Keeping your phone protected from hackers doesn’t have to be difficult. These simple tips can help to keep your data, documents, and other contents protected.