We carry our devices everywhere; they have become as integral a part of our lives as our family members. Our phones and tablets and iPods have our valuable information stored on apps and in documents and emails, and yet we are often cavalier about how we treat our mobile devices.
You have likely seen men patting down their blazers while muttering, “Now, where is my phone?” Or a woman digging through her purse before admitting, “I must have left it at home.”
In addition to the basic rule of “Know where your device is at in any given moment,” here are five ways to give your device and your personal information the benefit of stronger security.
Use a Fingerprint Lock
Most phones that were purchased in 2019 or later have the capability to be unlocked with a fingerprint. It’s easy to set up and will ask you to press your finger against the designated fingerprint ID area to ensure complete imaging of your finger.
The fingerprint lock feature will prevent someone who looks over your shoulder at a store from memorizing your pattern lock. It’s an often overlooked feature that device users “don’t want to deal with,” but which can greatly elevate the security of your phone or other fingerprint-sensing device.
Use a Pattern that has More than Two Lines
If your device offers a screen filled with nine, 12, or more dots, upon which you must trace a pattern to unlock the device, consider these facts:
Most people use two lines as their signature pattern. This is the easiest type of pattern to hack. However, it is also the easiest way for a person to get on his or her device quickly, so this is why it’s often used. Don’t fall for the “ease” aspect. You have too much riding on the integrity of your phone to make it this easy for strangers to break into.
Even a three-line pattern can be hacked, memorized and replicated by unwanted users. Use a four-line pattern to be a step above the crowd in device security. Some users who highly value their data will use patterns of up to 10 lines.
You willl want a pattern that you can remember, but which makes it difficult for others to peek at and memorize.
Never Store Your Device in a Back Pocket
This has more to do with physical security and less to do with high-tech methods to stop hacking. However, despite the fact that phones in back pockets are very easy for anyone to “lift,” people continue to store their mobile devices there. Don’t do it.
If you want your phone very accessible, consider a belt clip, and keep it in the front of the body. Or use a FitBit or Apple Watch that allows you to monitor calls and notifications while your phone can be securely stored at the bottom of a purse or backpack, preferably one with a locking zipper.
Don’t Lend Your Device
This is obvious, but if you lend your device, you must also lend your passcode. Unless you remember to change your passcode immediately when the phone or tablet is returned to you, you are leaving yourself open to unauthorized use.
This may not be malicious; perhaps your child simply wants to play a game. But if he or she can get into the device, then they may download a game that carries a virus or may delete important work e-mails.
If you must lend your device, do the unlocking yourself, hand the device to the user, and monitor their activity.
Choose Apps Wisely
No matter what you use your device for, you can always make good choices when it comes to apps and websites. For instance, you could try these gambling apps for real money games, because they have been vetted for security and integrity. If you want food delivery, go with one that’s widely used and has a solid reputation, such as Hello Fresh or Daily Harvest.
A Final Word
Keeping mobile devices safe and secure is often a matter of common sense. Yet, users employ shortcuts because it’s easier, or “I’ll worry about it tomorrow.” Sadly, if you don’t secure your device, you will have to worry about it tomorrow.
Take a few minutes, adopt a few good security habits, and live your life a little more confidently.