Practically everyone uses smartphones now. It has become almost indispensible to many people. People don’t just use smartphones to make phone calls and send text messages; an average person also uses smartphone to store contact details, photos and music. In fact, smartphones are like mini computers for many people. Many people use them to store important and sensitive information about their personal lives. With it, you can access all your social media sites. For many users like me, a smartphone is practically a mobile office. It gives us access to all our official documents and we can carry out certain official assignments while on the move. In recent times, an average user also stores their mobile banking apps on the phone so that they can easily access their money. All these reasons make it crucial to protect your smartphones. This is majorly because they are usually small and handy thereby quite easy to be stolen or lost.
A smartphone is quite easy to steal if you mistakenly take your eyes off it for a brief moment. In some cases, it can easily be snatched from a user’s hands. Unfortunately, your phones in the hands of a thief is enough to give you serious reasons to worry because the thief can access every personal, financial and official information about you. After copying all your details, he can erase everything on your phone by pressing the reset button and then sell the phone for any amount. It gets worse. The thief can wipe out your bank accounts and in some cases, use your official details for dubious transactions.
In fact, more than half of thefts in the USA involved using mobile phones and devices until recently. In the UK, an average of 10,000 mobile devices are stolen per month. Unfortunately, this means that the thieves make a lot of money from phone thefts while the phone companies also make a whole lot more. For instance, research shows that phone companies make an average of $30 billion from phone replacements on yearly basis. This might explain why some phone companies are reluctant about using kill-switches to remotely disable mobile phones after theft, unless it becomes legal issues.
In smartphone technology, a kill-switch can be a command or button designed to remotely shut down the use of a device almost immediately, especially in cases of theft or suspicious activities. There are 2 major types of kill-switches for smartphones, a hard kill-switch and a soft kill-switch. A hard kill-switch is used to permanently block a phone while a soft kill-switch renders the phone useless to anyone apart from the owner of the phone. You only need to access a computer or any other mobile device to remotely activate the kill-switch on your smartphone. Once activated, the kill-switch guarantees that no thief can access your details. According to research, after Apple added kill-switch to its devices in 2013, the level of iPhone thefts reduced drastically by 40% in San Francisco and by 25% in New York. In the UK, the thefts of iPhones reduced by a whopping 50%. A few other phone companies have also added kill-switches to their mobile devices since then.
Protecting Your Smartphones
Don’t be deceived by improvement statistic, everyone still needs to protect their smartphones if you don’t want the wrong person to access your personal details. You can do the following things to protect your smartphones.
1. Secure your data
To secure your data, simply add a 4-digit pin or password to lock your phone screen. By doing this, you would be preventing unauthorized users from accessing your personal details. If you don’t, you would be leaving your phone free for everyone to access. In certain cases, there won’t be any need to steal your phone if the thief can easily access the information they need.
2. Backup You Data
It is important to create regular backups of your smartphones on your computer or on your Cloud account, like iCloud or Google Drive. This way, you can be sure that you your details won’t be lost even if your smartphone is lost.
3. Create a Contact Sheet
This is necessary in case your phone gets lost. To do this, let your smartphone wallpaper display your name, alternate contact details and financial reward for returning your phone if it ever gets missing.
4. Use a kill-switch
As mentioned earlier, you can use a kill-switch to remotely deactivate your phone. It is important to know it is not all phones that automatically come with kill-switch. Some phone companies require that you sign up for a kill-switch.
Either way, it pays to have it. You never know when it might come in handy.
5. Be careful with app installations
When installing apps on your smartphones, watch out for dubious links and apps. If you are requested to give more details than necessary, stay away from such apps or links.
6. Install tracking software
Install tracking software to help you locate your phones if it ever gets stolen or lost. Some tracking software would remotely lock your phones once it is considered stolen. Some would send messages to you once it registers that an unauthorized user is accessing your phone.
7. Avoid saving login app details
Avoid saving login details of sensitive apps or websites like your banking details on you phone. If a thief gets hold of those details, you can be sure your money is gone.
8. Make your phone grab-proof
Always make sure you keep a close eye on your phones. Keep it in your pocket or safely tucked away in your bag if you are not using it. For instance, don’t leave your phone on the table of a busy restaurant without paying close attention to it.
9. Turn off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth
Leaving your phone’s Wi-Fi and Bluetooth on when you are not using them is an open invitation to hackers to access your private information. So keep them always turned off when not in use.
10. Buy a Proximity Alarm
You can get a proximity alarm for your smartphone. It comes with a transmitter and receiver. The transmitter must be attached to your phone. If it is 15 – 25 feet away from the receiver, it generates an alarm sound. Make sure you check before buying because not all proximity alarm are loud enough.
With all the above, you have enough information to help you protect your smartphones. Keep them safe to avoid people accessing your details to rob you or to use them fraudulent activities.
When installing apps on your smartphones, watch out for dubious links and apps. If you are requested to give more details than necessary, stay away from such apps or links.Install tracking software to help you locate your phones if it ever gets stolen or lost. Some tracking software would remotely lock your phones once it is considered stolen.
Some would send messages to you once it registers that an unauthorized user is accessing your phone. Avoid saving login details of sensitive apps or websites like your banking details on you phone. If a thief gets hold of those details, you can be sure your money is gone.