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The Ultimate Guide To Cell Phone Security In 2021

There’s no denying cell phones have become significant tools, helping people through their day-to-day errands. These gadgets are useful, not only in peoples’ personal lives and relationships but also for tasks and school work. In this modern age, iPhones and Android phones are necessities.

With 5.19 billion users, these devices have also become hot targets of cybercriminals. 

When released to the market, cell phones are pre-installed with the latest version of an operating system and security features. Manufacturers also provide regular software updates to patch bugs and vulnerabilities. Despite these initiatives, phone security is never a one-man job – it’s a shared responsibility of both the manufacturing company and the end-users. 

 

What Is Phone Security? 

Cell phone security is the protection of mobile devices from wireless threats. It is the responsibility of the phone manufacturer, operating system creators, and phone owners to protect these devices from threats seen and unseen. New iPhone and Android phone security precautions, operating system updates, and phone security apps are constantly emerging with consumers in mind. 

 

Why Is Phone Security Important?

guide to phone security safeguarde

Why should you protect your phone? Well, the obvious answer is to protect your cell phone and the data on it from threats and malicious persons. However, you are not only protecting yourself but your loved ones and/or business. Your phone may contain personal or confidential information and communications with friends, family, or coworkers. If your phone were to be compromised, this data is exposed to being retrieved, not just your own. 

After this information is obtained by malicious persons, they could utilize it to commit identity theft, financial theft, and fraud. They could also sell it to third parties or other criminals like scammers without your knowledge. With all this mentioned, it is clear as day why it’s essential to secure your Android phone or iPhone. 

 

Cell Phone Security Threats

In 2019, 43% of organizations in the United States sacrificed mobile security and malicious apps led to 50% of mobile threats. In 2020, the FBI saw a 50% surge in mobile banking amid the pandemic which triggered them to raise their level of alertness for a possible surge of app fraud.

These statistics are enough proof that the security threats on cell phone data received and stored are as real as those we’ve always been warned about when utilizing computers.

Below are the most common dangers to look out for when utilizing your mobile device.

Data Leakage and Privacy Breach

Phone apps typically need the user’s permission to gain access to certain features to function as programmed. Unfortunately, when abused, such access could lead to leakage of personal information and sensitive data. Apps typically store the confidential and personal data they’ve gathered in a database that could be used by advertisers and manufacturers. The risk for lost or stolen data happens when cybercriminals gain access to the said database. So, always be careful of what app permissions you give and always know your mobile data security is necessary

Phishing Attacks 

In most cases, hackers gain access to a cell phone through phishing links that are sent via email, chat, or text. Cybercriminals prefer utilizing phishing attacks on phone users as they typically check their messages in real-time. 

Network Spoofing 

This attack is the masking of malicious networks as legitimate connections. These fake access points are often available in public places like airports and coffeehouses, waiting for phone users to connect to the “free Wi-Fi” network. 

E-Skimming

E-commerce and online shopping centers are easily accessible through phones. E-skimming, the digital version of the famous credit card skimming, is the attack utilized to capture payment details by putting malicious codes on the checkout page of online shopping stores.

 

Cell Phone Security Measures: To-Do List

Just because phone use is susceptible to certain risks and dangers doesn’t mean you should stop utilizing one. These threats should be perceived as reminders of the importance of mobile device measures. If you are looking to “secure my phone” or for further “security for my phone”, follow these iPhone and Android security tips.

PIN or Password Protection

It’s not enough to create PINs or passwords, you have to utilize phone login information that is complicated and unguessable. Avoid utilizing your birthdate, basic-patterned codes, and recycled passwords or PINS. It’s also recommended that you change your PIN and password every three months and activate multiple or two-factor authentications. This applies to both iPhone and Android device security. 

Auto-Lock

Sometimes, someone doesn’t need to have any special hacking skills to get into a cell phone. Often, a phone user doesn’t enable auto-lock, allowing anyone to view a phone if they physically have it. Be sure to set the auto-lock to ensure no one other than you can view or access it. Also, set your apps to not display any information like notifications and messages on your lock screen.

Data Encryption

Encryption is the process of converting plain text into an unreadable data format known as the ciphertext. Cell phones are fed and process loads of data continuously. One way of securing your cell phone and this information is by enabling data encryption

Remote Wipe and Back-Up Your Data

Your phone being lost or stolen is highly risky as you won’t know how your device will be utilized or if it has fallen into the wrong hands. The moment you confirm your phone is gone for good, it’s best to remotely wipe it. This is why you should always have your data backed-up. Often, you can utilize built-in phone tools such as Find My iPhone and Find My Device to locate your phone, lock it, and remotely wipe your data. 

Software System & App Updates

Manufacturers regularly release new versions of their operating systems and new updates for their software programs. This is the same for the phone apps you utilize. Be sure to download and/or install updates as they become available as they are often meant to patch mobile security bugs and vulnerabilities. This is one of the #1 things all phone owners should do to secure their mobile device. 

Use Officially Approved and Trusted Applications

Stick to utilizing apps available on your phone’s official market – the App Store or Google Play. The apps available on these platforms are pre-validated and vetted so they’re less likely to be infected or a scam. Also, only download and use apps that are reputable and trustworthy. If you are unsure, conduct some research online about the app and view user reviews. 

Private Networks and Connections

Privacy starts with ensuring all connections and access are private – from a private network to a private browser. Using reliable virtual private networks (VPNs) is highly advisable especially if you can’t avoid connecting to public Wi-Fi.

Antivirus/Anti-Malware Software

To add an extra layer of protection, install anti-malware or antivirus software on your phone. Such iPhone and Android security apps are programmed to regularly check the device for threats and quarantine them if found. Often, these software programs are included in packages for iPhone or Android Security Systems you can purchased online. 

Delete Unused Apps

Unused apps could be entry points for hackers especially if these aren’t regularly updated. If you no longer utilize an app, it’s best to just uninstall it or delete any created account on it. If it’s a social media app, per se, be sure to deactivate your account first before uninstalling it so the data will be wiped.

Spyware

Using spyware to secure your phone may sound odd, but it helps. A reliable and trustworthy spy app isn’t only good for spying or monitoring. These apps have a wide array of useful features like remote data wipe-up, real-time activities logging, and more.

Aside from religiously following the aforementioned safety tips, be sure to avoid doing any of the below to better secure your phone.  

 

Cell Phone Security Measures: Not-To-Do List

cell phone security tips safeguarde

Root/Jailbreak Your Phone

Rooting an Android phone or jailbreaking an iPhone unlocks a new level of administrative access. This freedom, however, comes with additional responsibilities. When not properly maintained, a rooted or jailbroken phone is exposed to various security mobile risks.

Links From Unknown/Untrusted Sources 

Avoid clicking on links, especially those that are sent by unknown or untrusted sources. Scrutinize any text, message, or email you receive that pose as your bank, account site, or network. These sources may actually contain malware that could affect the security of your phone. 

App Access and Permissions

Don’t mindlessly allow permissions or access just so you utilize a certain app. Weigh the possible risks versus the importance of the app. If it’s not worth it, it’s better to not utilize the app than to expose yourself and your data.

Public Charging Ports

Juice jacking is another attack utilized by cybercriminals wherein they compromise wires and use those to transmit data. Cybercriminals utilize this method to infiltrate public charging ports and stations in coffee shops, airports, and other public places. 

Download Software/Apps From Third-Party Websites

Unless you are absolutely certain the app or software you are downloading is legitimate, avoid doing so from third-party websites. Such sites could actually be scams looking to compromise your phone and/or obtain your personal information. Instead, only download apps from your phone’s official app store (ex. Google Play, App Store). 

 

Security For Cell Phones: Mobile Security Protection Apps

From antivirus software to VPNs, there are various apps for iPhone and Android phones that can aid in the security of your mobile phone.

VPNs

Antivirus Software

Other Mobile Phone Security Apps

 

Phone Security Tips and Guides

General Smartphone Security

iPhone

Android 

 

FAQs About Cell Phone Security:

What cell phone has the best security?

There is no one cell phone or manufacturer that is the most secure. According to the experts, the most secure phone models currently are the Apple iPhone 12 Pro Max, Google Pixel 5, Samsung Galaxy Note 20 Ultra, Sirin Labs Finney U1, and Bittium Tough Mobile 2 C.

Are cell phones secure?

Modern-day cell phones come with security protocols, software, and built-in features. However, phone security is dependent on the phone owner utilizing built-in features and practicing phone security protocols.

Which is safer: iPhone or Android?

Many people and experts believe the iPhone is safer and more secure than Android phones and vice versa. Many argue the iPhone is more secure as it has a closed operating system, decreasing the chances of hackers exposing and taking advantage of vulnerabilities. However, iPhones are just as likely to be targeted as Android phones.

Do I need an antivirus for my mobile phone?

Having antivirus software on your cell phone is not sorry. However, if it is a company device or you conduct many business activities, it’s advised you utilize one. We highly recommend considering Avast Antivirus and Kaspersky Antivirus.

Where should you not use a cell phone?

As a rule of thumb, avoid using your cell phone while connected to a public Wi-Fi network. Such places you may do so include coffee shops, restaurants, airports, hospitals, and more. Instead, it’s best to connect to your home private network or utilize a mobile hotspot.

About Pat S.
Blogger, writer, yoga enthusiast, and cell phone monitoring software expert.

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