Only 10 years ago, losing a mobile phone meant staying without the most convenient way of getting in touch with others; today, it means being robbed of security. We’ve grown so accustomed to relying on our smartphones for safe storage that both our professional and personal lives are now unimaginable without our portable devices.
From digital wallets and business-related confidential data to private photos and personal diaries, everything we hold valuable and dear is left out there for cyber villains to reach out their hands and take it. And, without the necessary precautions to make it safer, our sensitive data is basically public.
Especially when using it abroad, your smartphone is in great danger of being breached by web thieves or stolen by actual ones, which is why you should do everything in your power to take it out of harm’s way. After all, additional security comes at a low price, so be sure to follow the next 8 tips to obtain it.
1. Erase & Backup
The less potentially compromising information you have on you, the smaller the chances for getting in trouble, so make sure to clean up your phone before you jet off into the sunset. If the data in question is still of major importance for you, move it to the in-house computer and leave it there. If not, simply erase it.
2. Update Your System and Apps
Regular system updates are actually not designed as optional – naturally, you can choose to download the latest versions of your operating system and apps or you can keep your old ones, but remember that these improvements and modifications are developed for security reasons as well.
Protection-wise, no system is flawless, and the only difference between older and newer versions is that the latter is less defenseless when it comes to known bugs. With that in mind, always update your phone before taking a trip.
3. Steer Clear from Untrusted Sources
Though this one’s of huge importance regardless of whether you plan to travel abroad or not, never forget the “untrusted sources” rule once you’re away on the road. This applies to both the content you consume straight from the web and what you download to the device.
When it comes to this type of malware, suspicious links and unverified apps are the biggest threats. Never open links you receive via email or social media if the sender is unknown and never download apps from unapproved sites, especially if you don’t check the source on forums beforehand.
4. Always Use Antivirus Software
If you haven’t already, and you definitely should protect your smartphone with an antivirus solution once your wanderlust kicks in. Contrary to popular belief, these apps go beyond immunity to common viruses and include anti-theft protection as well, so be sure to start using the most suitable type as soon as possible.
5. Turn On Biometric Protection
Possibly the best thing about a cutting-edge smartphone is its password protection. Depending on the type, you can choose a code that only you will know of, an unlock pattern or biometric protection that’s currently unsurpassed when it comes to phone security. Examine your choices and opt for the best one for both your operative system and your individual apps.
6. Turn Off Tracking Sensors
Mobile responsiveness doesn’t only guarantee that your user experience is of the same quality as when browsing via large screens, but that the content you consume is customized according to your whereabouts as well.
That’s why all of your mobile apps are embedded with a tracking sensor and your social media accounts know where you are. Though this is convenient in some cases, these pieces of information might put you in jeopardy when abroad, so be sure to turn the location trackers off before you leave home.
7. Avoid Public Wi-Fi Spots
However cheap and comfortable, public Wi-Fi spots are where most of the cyber thefts occur – if sharing sensitive information, avoid them at any cost. Instead of putting your credit card numbers at risk, use cell connections; the amount of money you’ll pay on roaming fees will still be lesser than the amount you can be robbed or otherwise. In case this is still way too expensive for you, be sure to access your accounts via a VPN.
8. Leverage Find-My-Phone Features
Apart from biometric protection, the find-my-phone feature is arguably the best that smartphones have to offer, at least when it comes to safety. It goes hand in hand with remote wiping, but both can’t work if not turned on before the potential robbery. As such, this should probably be the first thing you do once you catch a taxi to the airport.
When secured with a suitable insurance plan and protected by passwords, latest updates, and antiviruses, a smartphone is as safe as any smartphone can be. Most importantly, these tips require no time or additional costs, so be clever enough to take our advice and put them into action before you take off into the sunset.