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Top 5 Ways to Prevent a Phone Hack

The number of hacks is on the rise. How safe are you from a potential hack? Use these five tips to safeguard your phone against hackers.

In the past twenty years, cell phones have changed our lives immensely. You can deposit a check to your banking account, chat with faraway friends, send important emails, and so much more. We live with greater access and ease, because we can fit a small, easy- to-use computer into the palm of our hand. Access and ease also bring potential pitfalls. According to the Ponemon Institute, around 432 million people were hacked in a yearlong period from May 2013 to May 2014.

Don’t Underestimate a Good Password

Setting a passcode for your phone is your first line of defense against most hackers. If your phone is lost or stolen, it will be that much harder for someone to gain access to it. Depending on your mobile operating system, you have several password options, which include: fingerprint verification, lock patterns, pin codes and passwords.

Secure your other password logins as well. Don’t use readily available personal data such as important dates in your life. Don’t use your significant other’s name or your children’s names in a password. If you use a password manager, then a random string of numbers and letters is your best bet, especially if it contains a mix of uppercase, lowercase, and special characters. However, without a password manager these passwords can be extremely difficult to remember. If you don’t use a password manager, then use a string of information you’ll remember such as the year you had your first kiss, then your first pet’s name, followed by your favorite place you’ve ever been.

Don’t take a picture and leave it in your camera roll with your password or write them down in your email or notes. If someone steals your phone, or hacks into it, then you’ve handed them the keys to your kingdom. You should take a picture of your password and store it in KeepSafe. Either take the photo directly into Keepsafe or take it and then store it in Keepsafe, and delete it from your regular camera roll.

Never Leave Your Phone Unattended

When you’re in a public place, keep your phone with you at all times. How many times have you accidentally left your phone in a public place and, minutes later, had to race back hoping no one had taken it? Before you leave a public area, it’s never a bad idea to make sure your phone is still on you. And there’s always the option of putting things you’d rather not have published in KeepSafe. This will provide you with an added level of security, and peace of mind.

It’s also important to only leave your phone around people you trust. Even though it’s scary to imagine a scenario where a friend, family member or significant other has installed spyware on your phone, it is a possibility. Protect yourself by protecting your phone.

Turn Tracking On

Most smartphone operating systems provide users with location tracking for a reason. Depending on your mobile OS, if your phone is stolen or lost, you can remotely track your phone’s location, and also lock it, display a message and/or erase the device.

There are also apps you can download to your phone that will do some of the above and more. Most of these apps require you to download them to your device ahead of time so preparation is key. Popular options include Prey and Lookout.

Unsecure Wi-Fi Can Burn You

Unsecured, public Wi-Fi hotspots are risky because they don’t require authentication of any kind. Hackers can intercept and spy on any information being sent over the connection, such as names, emails and passwords.

If you have to access sensitive information via public Wi-Fi, your best defense is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). Luckily, VPNs are easy to use. Simply download a program like Cloak and turn it on. Remember, all public Wi-Fi is inherently risky, even if a hotspot requires a password.

If a Link Looks Suspicious, Don’t Click It

Never click on a link you receive from an unknown or strange phone number. It could lead you to a spoof website or install malware onto your phone. It’s also important to never provide personal data such as a social security number via a text or an email.

If you don’t recognize an email address or phone number, or the subject matter seems suspicious, exercise caution. You can report any suspicious texts you receive to your cell phone carrier for free, though, this is dependent on the carrier you use.

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