Most of us who own smart phones store a considerable amount of personal data on them which could be very damaging if the phone was lost or stolen. Everything from valuable documents, passwords, personal pictures, banking or credit information, and personal text messages could be compromised. Fortunately, there are several steps one can take to protect the data stored on their phone. What follows are some best practices for protecting the data on your Android Smart phone.
- Enable the Auto-Lock and Passcode Lock features under the general settings. Go to your settings, and then select "security." The Auto-Lock feature will automatically lock your phone after it has been sitting idle for an amount of time that you pre-determine. The Passcode Lock feature will require a password, or a trace design anytime someone attempts to access the phone when it is locked. These two simple features provide significant deterrence to the random individual who may try to steal your phone if it's left unattended.
- Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) when using your phone to access the internet via public WiFi. Public WiFi poses a danger to your personal data because hackers can use public WiFi hotspots to monitor what you are doing as well as what information you may be sending over the internet. A Virtual Private Network encrypts the signals from your Android making it impossible for hackers to decipher what you are doing on the internet.
- Always have an updated antivirus program installed on your Android to help prevent virus or other malware from infecting your phone. Monitoring apps such as Lookout Security can gauge the risk levels of various apps or programs you might be inclined to install on your phone.
- Always pay attention to what apps you're downloading. What access rights to your data does it ask for? Is it produced by a reliable/trustworthy entity? Never download an app you're not 100% sure about, and always pay attention to what rights they require to install their app in your phone.
- Install a wiping program on your phone so that in the event of a theft or a loss, you will be able to remotely wipe all your sensitive data from the phone so the thief cannot benefit from it.
- Never pre-store banking passwords or other sensitive passwords on your phone. If someone were to gain access to your Android, there's no reason that event needs to preclude a thief gaining access to your email or your mobile banking apps.
"Keeping your Information Safe on an Android Device" was written by Matt Davis. Matt is a Victim Advisor at the Identity Theft Resource Center. We welcome you to post/reprint the above article, as written, giving credit to and linking back to the original article.