Our smartphones are not just devices we use to make calls, text, or peruse social media. They are also our personal assistants, our wallets, our cameras, our entertainment systems, and our lifelines.
They store a lot of sensitive and valuable information, such as our contacts, media files, passwords, financial information/apps, and more. That’s why it’s important to protect them from anything that can compromise our privacy, security, and identity.
In this article, we will share the best ways to protect your smartphone from malware, hackers, and theft. We will also show you how to detect and remove any intruders that may have already found their way into your device.
Common Threats to Your Smartphone
There are many ways that hackers and thieves can target your smartphone and access your data. Some of the most common threats are:
Malware is any software that is designed to exploit your device or data. Malware can infect your smartphone through various channels, such as phishing emails or texts, malicious apps or websites, or even unsecured Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connections.
Malware can perform various actions on your device, such as stealing personal information, spying on your activities, displaying unwanted ads, or even locking your device/files.
Hackers are individuals or groups that use various techniques and tools to break into your device or accounts and access your data.
Hackers can use malware, spyware, keyloggers, brute force attacks, social engineering, or sim swapping to hack your smartphone. They could use your data for purposes such as identity theft, fraud, or blackmail
Thieves are people who physically steal or access your device without your permission.
Thieves can use your device to make unauthorised calls or purchases, access your online accounts, or sell your device or data to others.
How to Prevent Your Smartphone From Being Attacked
The best way to protect your smartphone from malware, hackers, and theft is to not grant them the chance to happen in the first place. Here are some measures that you can take to secure your device and data.
Update Your OS and Apps
One of the easiest and most effective ways to protect your smartphone is to keep it updated with the latest software. Software updates often contain security patches that fix vulnerabilities and bugs that hackers can exploit.
You should also update your apps regularly and only download them from trusted sources like the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.
Use a Strong Password or Biometric Authentication
You should always lock your device with a strong password, or a biometric authentication method like fingerprint or face recognition. This will prevent unauthorised access to your device in case it is lost or stolen.
You should also avoid using the same password for multiple accounts or services and change it as frequently as possible.
Enable Two-factor Authentication
Two-factor authentication (2FA) is an extra layer of security that requires you to enter a code or a token in addition to your password when logging into an account or service.
This will prevent hackers from accessing your accounts even if they have your password. You should enable 2FA on any service that offers it, and use a different device to receive the code or token.
Avoid Public Wi-Fi
Public Wi-Fi networks are often unsecured and can expose your device and data to hackers. You should avoid connecting to them unless you trust them, or use a VPN (virtual private network) to encrypt your traffic.
You should also turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on your devices when you are not using them.
Use a VPN
A VPN is a service that creates a secure tunnel between your device and the internet. It hides your IP address and encrypts your data so that no one can see what you are doing online.
A VPN can protect you from hackers who try to intercept your traffic on public networks or spy on your online activities.
Be Careful What You Click
Phishing is a common technique that hackers use to trick you into clicking malicious links or attachments that can infect your device with malware.
You should always be careful what you click on and verify the sender and the content of any email or text message before opening it. You should also avoid clicking pop-ups or ads that claim to offer free gifts or prizes.
Backup Your Data:
Backing up your data is a good practice that can help you recover your files in case of a malware attack, a hacker breach, or device theft.
You should backup your data regularly and store it in a secure location, preferably an offline external hard drive. You should also encrypt your backup data to prevent unauthorised access.
How to Detect and Remove Intruders From Your Smartphone
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, your smartphone may still get infected with malware, hacked, or stolen.
If that happens, you’d need to act quickly and take the following steps to detect and remove any intruders from your device.
Check for Signs of Infection
Some common signs that your device may be infected with malware are: unusual battery drain, increased data usage, slow performance, pop-ups or ads, unfamiliar apps or icons, and strange messages or even calls.
If you notice any of these, you should scan your device with a reputable antivirus or security app and remove any suspicious apps or files.
Change Your Passwords
If you suspect that your device or accounts may have been hacked, you should definitely change your passwords ASAP, and log out of any services that you are using.
You should also check your account activity and settings and report any unauthorised or suspicious actions.
Locate or Wipe Your Device
If your device is lost or stolen, you should try to locate it using a tracking app or service, such as Find My Device for Android or Find My iPhone for iOS.
You can also use these services to lock your device remotely, display a message on the screen, or wipe your data.
Wiping your data should be the last resort though, as it will make it harder to recover your device or files if they weren’t backed up.
Smartphones are valuable devices that store a lot of personal and sensitive information. That’s why it’s important to protect them from malware, hackers, and theft.
By following the tips and best practices that we’ve shared, you’ll definitely prevent most common attacks and secure your device and data.
However, if you ever encounter an attack, you should act quickly and take the necessary steps to detect and remove any intruders from your device.