Smartphone Safety Tips
Helen Setsikas

Our smartphones are incredibly valuable tools and have become an integral part of our lives. They allow us to stay connected with friends and family, work on the go, and even make purchases from the comfort of our own homes. With the increasing dependence on smartphones, the threat of cybercrime has also risen. Hackers and cybercriminals are always looking for ways to gain access to personal information and sensitive data stored on our phones, specifically through the use of malware and malicious apps installed without knowledge. Malicious apps can steal your personal data, damage your phone, and even use your device for illegal activities.

Therefore, it is crucial to take measures to keep your phone safe from malicious apps. In this blog post, we will discuss some best practices for keeping your phone safe from malicious apps along with general best practices for keeping you protected. 

Malicious Apps and Best Practice Tips

Only download apps from trusted sources:

One of the most important things you can do in keeping your phone safe from malicious apps is to only download apps from trusted sources. This means downloading apps from reputable app stores such as Google Play or the Apple Store. These app stores have rigorous security measures in place to ensure that the apps they offer are safe and free from malicious software. However, there are still some malicious apps that manage to slip through the cracks. Therefore, you should be careful when downloading apps from other sources, as they may not have the same level of security measures in place.

Keep your operating system and apps up to date:

Keeping your operating system and apps up to date is essential for maintaining the security of your smartphone. Developers regularly release updates that fix security vulnerabilities and bugs. These updates also include new features that can enhance the functionality of your phone. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep your phone updated with the latest software and app updates.

Read app reviews before downloading:

Another way to ensure that you are downloading safe apps is to read app reviews before downloading. By reading app reviews you can gain a good idea of the app's functionality and whether it is safe to use. If an app has numerous negative reviews, it may be a red flag, and you should avoid downloading it. User reviews can be a great way to gauge the safety and reliability of an app.

Check app permissions:

Before downloading an app, take the time to review the permissions it is asking for. Some apps may request access to sensitive information on your phone, such as your contacts, camera, microphone, or location data. If an app is asking for more permissions than it needs to function properly, it's best to avoid it.

Use antivirus software:

Installing antivirus software on your phone is another way to keep it safe from malicious apps. There are many free antivirus apps available on the app stores that can scan your phone for malware and alert you to any potential threats.

Use strong passwords, passphrases, and passcodes:

Using strong passwords, passphrases, and passcodes is one of the most basic yet essential steps in protecting your phone from cybercrime. Choose ones that are difficult to guess and avoid using common words or numbers. Use a mix of either words, upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and special characters to make your password or passcode stronger. Most importantly avoid using the same password, passphrase, or passcode for multiple accounts.

Use a VPN when using public Wi-Fi:

Public Wi-Fi networks are notorious for being insecure. Using them can put your phone at risk of cybercrime. Using a VPN (Virtual Private Network) when using public Wi-Fi can help protect your phone from cybercriminals who may be monitoring the network.

Use two-factor authentication:

Two-factor authentication adds an extra layer of security to your phone by requiring a second form of verification before allowing access to your account. This can include a code sent to your phone via SMS or a fingerprint scan. Enable two-factor authentication on all your accounts to add an extra layer of security.

Avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading unknown attachments:

Phishing attacks are a common form of cybercrime that involves tricking users into clicking on a link or downloading an attachment that installs malware or steals personal information. Avoid clicking on suspicious links or downloading unknown attachments to protect your phone from these types of attacks.

Keeping your phone safe from malicious apps requires a combination of common sense, vigilance, and the right tools. By only downloading apps from trusted sources, reading reviews before downloading, checking app permissions, keeping your phone up to date, and using antivirus software, you can ensure that your phone is safe and secure.

Cybercrime is a serious threat, and by following the tips discussed and taking steps to protect your smartphone can help keep you safe from cybercrime and protect your personal information and sensitive data.

Contributed by Helen Setsikas, Director, Information Technology