Video: 5 steps to secure smartphone data
By Kristin Wong
Our cellphones make life incredibly convenient. You can use them to network, send money and check your account balances.
But these conveniences aren't without risk. Your phone may be lost, stolen or hacked -- and along with it goes your financial and personal data.
To secure personal data on your smartphone, take a few simple steps.
Step 1: Protect your phone from thieves. Set a passcode on your phone's lock screen to deter pickpockets from accessing any features or data.
"You can put a fingerprint password on there or you can put a simple numeric password," says Scott Goldman, co-founder and CEO of Text Power, a security and authentication service. "Or you can put a more complex one -- a word, a phrase, a combination -- and those passwords are better, but they're less convenient," says Goldman.
"The things that are the most secure are typically the least convenient."
Step 2: Make it easy to find and lock down a lost or stolen phone. "Enable a Find My Phone type of function," says Goldman. "The great thing about that is, not only will it help you locate where your phone is, which can be used to help the authorities, but there's also a function where you can lock everybody out. You can brick the phone, meaning it becomes as good as a paperweight."
Next, up your defenses against hackers. "Most of the hacking that occurs is on websites or mobile apps," explains Goldman. "The real risk that comes in is if somebody has installed malware on your phone. Hackers make a lot of money stealing your data."
Anti-malware apps are available but they can slow down your system and interfere with your phone's functions. For these reasons, Goldman doesn't recommend them.
Instead he suggests, Step 3: Be careful with downloads. Only download apps from trusted sellers and sites.
Step 4: Use Wi-Fi hot spots cautiously. Free Wi-Fi hotspots are commonplace, but keep in mind, those spots are usually unsecured. Sending sensitive information over these networks can make your personal data vulnerable to hackers.
Step 5: Use multi-step authentication on apps that offer it. "A text message gets sent to your phone, and then, you have to take the code that's been sent to you via text message and enter it into a webpage," says Goldman.
Thanks to securities technology, it's mostly safe to use personal data on our phones. But it's not completely without risk. With only a few steps, you can secure your phone and your data.
Published: June 24, 2014
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