By Praveen Kannan and Anna Strokolyst The Hotspot Shield team believes the internet should be open and secure …
Gone are the days when we only had to worry about viruses on computers. Today, your phone is just as at risk.
According to cybersecurity giant Kaspersky, there were a total of 42.7 million mobile malware attacks in 2017. The company also reported that malicious mobile software threats were found in more than 230 countries worldwide. What this means is that there are literally millions of attacks every month designed to hack into your phone’s data and steal your sensitive information.
So, you better know how to protect the data on your phone.
Encrypt your data with a VPN
The main benefit of a Virtual Private Network, or VPN, is that it’s designed to encrypt your data traffic over an online network. Communication between the device and the network is routed to the VPN’s secure servers, making it anonymous and shielded from hackers.
It may sound complicated, but trust me, it isn’t. Simply download the free Hotspot Shield VPN app, click the “connect” button, and your online activities are immediately protected against hackers. It’s that simple.
Essentially, a VPN makes your device and the information within it invisible and therefore inaccessible to anyone else who may be on the same WiFi network as you. Not only will hackers not be able to steal your data, they won’t be able to inject ransomware or other malware onto your device.
In summary, get a VPN now.
Install antivirus software on your device
Due to the proliferation of mobile malware, security vendors now offer antivirus programs that are optimized for devices such as smartphones or tablets. These apps are usually free, but some do require either a one-time payment or a subscription fee.
Some of the best mobile antivirus apps (both for Android and iOS) include:
- Avast Mobile Security
- Bitdefender Antivirus Free
- McAfee Security
- Trend Micro Mobile Security & Antivirus
- Norton mobile security
These apps are convenient, intuitive, and also extremely lightweight, meaning they don’t take up a lot of mobile storage.
Update your device’s operating system (OS)
It doesn’t matter whether you use an Android device or an iOS device. You should update your smartphone’s OS as soon as it is available for download. Never put them off for another time because these updates include patches that fix existing security vulnerabilities within the OS that can be exploited by cybercriminals.
Keep in mind that it’s not just the OS that you need to update. You should also update the apps on your smartphone. Yes, keeping your phone and the software within it up-to-date is a tedious process that, in some cases, can take an hour or more, but it’s a small price to pay for the security of your data.
Beware of public WiFi
Public WiFi is not secure. It’s as simple as that. It’s not encrypted, which means the data you send and receive with your phone can be seen and accessed by anyone who is also connected to the same WiFi network. Through an unprotected WiFi network, hackers can also easily inject malware onto your device. And it happens thousands of times every day.
It takes even the most inexperienced hacker a matter of minutes to hack into your account if, for example, you’re both logged into the free Starbucks WiFi. What if you’re looking at your bank account, for instance, or even just your emails? Those account passwords will go straight to the hacker, where they’ll either be exploited by the criminal himself or sold on the dark web.
Either way, it’ll suck.
It’s obvious that the dangers of using public WiFi far outweigh the benefits, so this is another reason you need a VPN. Activate Hotspot Shield VPN first before you log in to the network. This protects your phone and the data on it.
Put a lock on your smartphone
This last tip may be the simplest, and yet plenty of people neglect it. Your smartphone likely offers password protection, and you should take advantage of it. Depending on the OS and the smartphone model, typical choices for phone locking include a personal identification number, alpha-numeric password, biometric identification (fingerprint), and lock-screen pattern.
For maximum security, create a strong alpha-numeric password and pair it with biometric identification. This way, even if your phone gets lost or stolen, the person who gets ahold of it won’t be able to access your private data.
So don’t assume that because your cell phone is not a computer it’s therefore not at risk of hacking or malware attacks. Because it is, and millions upon millions of people each year become victims.