As we have seen a drastic rise in hackers accessing multi-national corporations’ databases, it is easy to suspect that the everyday person’s phone could be the next target. Not too long ago, Jeff Bezos’ phone was hacked to extract incriminating information on him. Who is to say that others’ phones won’t be attacked? Recently, its been reported that hackers can access others’ phones just by sending a text – even if it’s not opened! While this is new information, the likelihood of it happening to you or I is still relatively slim. Either way, your phone may still be at risk to be hacked. Here is how to protect your phone:

  1. Do Not Jailbreak Your Smartphone: The issue with jail-breaking a phone is that the old software is removed, replaced with new software, and then replaced again with the old software. This was very popular in the early days of the iPhone and was common amongst Millennials. Nowadays, its frowned upon in the Apple community as it allows easy access for hackers to plant viruses and malware.
  2. Anti-Virus: Just like you need an anti-virus on your computer, it is also important to have an anti-virus app on your phone. There are several available for iOS and Androids, the most popular being Norton’s Mobile Security and McAfee Mobile Security.
  3. Strong Password and Two-Factor Identification: Nowadays, its almost required to have a Two-Factor level of protection for any account. This is especially important to have so your information is not leaked if your phone becomes compromised. Additionally, having a strong password that is more than 8 characters and includes a number and/or a symbol greatly decreases the chances of your account being hacked. Any password that you use should not be the same one that you use for all of your accounts. Have a few strong passwords that you rotate for several accounts.
  4. VPN: Connecting to an unsecured, public network (e.g. Starbucks’ WiFi) without using a VPN is the most common way a phone gets hacked. VPN’s are great for whenever you leave your home and connect to WiFi, or want an extra level of protection. You must turn on your VPN BEFORE you join a public network, or your information may have already been compromised.
  5. Turn Off WiFi and Bluetooth: Hackers can easily access your phone if the Bluetooth and WiFi is enabled. You won’t even be able to tell if someone is attempting to hack your phone. In order to prevent this, you need to turn off both your Bluetooth and WiFi – or better yet – completely turn off your phone while in public. Even the NSA recommends you to turn them off when you are not using them. You should only use Bluetooth and WiFi when connecting to your own devices or network, or other non-public networks.

Making a point to protect your information can lead to many benefits. By following these steps, you can protect yourself from a long list of headaches. These include the loss of personal information, money stolen out of your bank accounts, and the loss of control of your phone.

For additional tips and information, click here for NSA’s recommendations and insight on how to protect your phone.

Can you think of anything else? Comment below with any additional tips you follow to protect your smartphone!