Most people understand cybersecurity basics — especially when using a computer. It’s easy to think about keeping yourself safe online when you’re sitting in front of your personal laptop or your computer at work.
However, nowadays, over 92% of Internet users get online via their mobile devices. You might think you’re completely safe as you “surf” the web on your phone, but there are just as many cybersecurity threats you should be aware of.
It’s essential to practice good safety habits on your phone to keep your sensitive information as secure as possible. Thankfully, getting into those habits is easier than you might think, and you can even take things one step further by using anti-viral software.
Let’s take a closer look at how your identity and data could be compromised if your phone is hacked, and how you can protect yourself.
How to protect your phone from getting hacked
A little common sense goes a long way when it comes to protecting the important information on your phone. Unfortunately, hackers know how popular mobile use is, and they’ve gotten incredibly smart in their efforts to steal identities and financial information. You can stay one step ahead of them by committing to a few safe habits, including:
- Locking your phone with a PIN when you’re not using it
- Keeping your software updated
- Backing up your data
- Having different passwords for various apps and accounts
If you’re not the only one who uses your phone in your family, make sure everyone is aware of these practices — especially your kids. Consider limiting access to what your child can see and do online from your mobile device, and make sure they know how to stay safe by never downloading strange apps or talking to unknown numbers via text. If your kids play games on your phone, especially with other people, make sure they know how to keep their information safe and secure while interacting with others.
Finally, make sure you’re able to recognize common scams and threats, so you don’t fall for them. Phishing scams can happen through text or email, and hackers have become quite “civilized” in the way they present their information, so it’s easy for an email or text to look legitimate when it’s not. Always be cautious and never click on any unknown links from numbers or email addresses you’re unfamiliar with.
Use the right resources
Making the best security practices on your mobile device a habit is a great way to keep yourself safe from hackers who might be able to see your phone or get their hands on it in person. However, you never know when a cybercriminal could be trying to hack their way into your device from across the globe.
To reduce the risk of your phone getting hacked, consider using tech-based solutions, like antivirus software. Thankfully, there are plenty of options for both Androids and iPhones. Some of the top antivirus apps include:
- Bitdefender Mobile Security
- Avast Mobile Security
- AVG Antivirus
- Avira Mobile Security
You don’t have to be a tech wizard to take advantage of these resources. Simply downloading the apps and going through the recommended steps will keep your phone — and your information — safer from potential hackers. However, if you’re uncomfortable working with antivirus software or you want to make sure it’s installed correctly, consider having your phone outfitted with security software by a professional.
What to do if you get hacked
Sometimes, despite your best efforts, cybercriminals can hit their mark and end up hacking your mobile device. So, what should you do if it happens to you?
First, use the antivirus software you’ve downloaded to quarantine any viruses and delete them! This can keep malware from spreading to other areas of your phone, and keep criminals from getting all of your information.
Contact any financial institutions connected with your phone, including your bank and credit card companies, if you manage your bills online. Make sure there haven’t been any fraudulent charges, and consider freezing your accounts until you’re able to protect your phone again. If you’re worried your information has been stolen, consider closing out those accounts and opening new ones, and continue to monitor your credit reports and statements for a few months following the attack. If you’re worried a hacker is trying to steal your identity, report identity theft to the Federal Trade Commission, and they’ll work with you to get to the bottom of the crime.
Change all of your passwords, do a “factory reset” on your device, and delete any apps that you didn’t download. It’s easy to feel violated when your phone gets hacked, but don’t panic. When you know how to keep yourself safe and you’ve installed antivirus software, most hackers are going to have a harder time getting the information they want.
Keep these tips in mind to effectively combat cybersecurity risks on your phone, especially if it’s how you spend most of your time online. While you might not always be able to prevent attacks, many hackers will “move on” to easier targets if it’s taking them too long to find viable information on your device.