Look around you right now. Look at all the people on their phones, and you will notice one thing – they are either using an Android device or an iPhone.
Depending on where you are too, there is a high chance that there are more Android users than iPhone fans there, supporting the fact that Android has the largest mobile OS share in the world. Sorry, Bill Gates, but you lost the battle with Windows phones.
Seeing how common these devices are, and how much of our data are now on phones, it becomes important to protect them.
Why should I care about my iPhone/ Android device protection?
Here is one piece of truth for free:
Anytime you rip your device out of the box, it has already been fitted with some security measures from your OEM. They also know how important user data and privacy is, so they make the first step in this direction on your behalf.
However, all they do is take the first step for you – and you now have to go the entire mile yourself. That is why we have created this piece so you can know how to take the necessary steps to ensure an improved security package lest your device gets hacked and your files are stolen.
If you think this is not a big issue, you might want to ask the various celebrities who had their iCloud accounts hacked sometimes back, seeing their nudes and intimate pictures on the internet.
Speaking of, yes – your iPhone can be hacked too. Probably not as serious a security threat as Android can be, but they can be hacked.
Protecting your Units
Here are some simple tips you can incorporate into your everyday lifestyle to stay safe against hackers and data breaches of any kind:
1. Install App Updates Regularly
Take a moment to head over to your Google Play Store (for Android users) or App Store (for iPhone users) right now to see how many app updates you have pending. I’ll give you a moment.
The moment’s over!
You might not know this, but each one of those apps you have failed to update on time could be a potential backdoor into your device.
When app developers send out updates, they are usually to fix bugs and patch vulnerabilities which they have found in the past version. Of course, they sometimes send out updates for aesthetic effects, but that does not happen all the time.
A worthy example can be drawn from WhatsApp which was bugged by Israeli spyware a couple of months ago. It took an update from the company behind this app to fix the issue on both iOS and Android units. Thus, anyone who didn’t get these updates will still be vulnerable to the Israeli spyware.
2 Install firmware updates
It is one thing to install updates to apps, and yet another thing to install system updates itself.
For Android devices, Google has started rolling out monthly security patches for a while now. This is aimed at fixing the security issues that have been found in the Android software for that month. Apple is more streamlined, only releasing updates to fix major and minor issues on the highly stable iOS.
When these updates are sent out, it is best to not consider how large they are and download them instantly.
A good case that comes to mind is one of a time when iPhones and iPads could get hacked by a piece of hardware used by the FBI. Apple would have none of that, releasing an update to fix the issue in less than a week
Bonus: When buying Android devices, make sure it is from an OEM known to release monthly updates in a timely fashion.
3. Avoid public Wi-Fi networks
Many of those who would claim to be updating their apps and phone software regularly will also fall into the category of public Wi-Fi network users.
Even though free Wi-Fi is not as common in this part of the world as it is in advanced regions, we are starting to get it in more and more places. While these networks allow us to enjoy the internet without having to worry about data costs, they could also be a huge problem.
Among other things, public Wi-Fi networks make it possible to fall into rogue Wi-Fi network attacks, become victims of man-in-the-middle scams and much more. They are also notorious for being used to collect your internet traffic data – either by the offeror of such networks or a hacker who knows what they are doing.
The best thing to do will be avoiding these networks altogether and focusing on your data instead. If you must indulge in public Wi-Fi network, though, invest in a quality VPN to encrypt your internet connection so that hackers, or the network providers, don’t intercept/ monitor/ collect/ record your internet traffic and activity.
4 Never sideload apps
Recall that I mentioned your OEM putting in some safety measures? Kicking against sideloading is one of such.
Every iOS and Android enabled phone has been programmed to not accept installations of apps downloaded from outside the App Store/ Play Store respectively. That is because only the apps on the official app stores have been screened by the in-house developers to confirm that they do not contain any malicious code which could hurt you.
Thus, downloading and installing apps from an outside source means you are blindly trusting the developers of such apps not to have inserted some malicious code in it. More often than not, this is a poorly placed trust.
Seeing as multiple apps on the Google Play Store, and a host of apps on the iOS App Store too, are infected with malware, how much more those downloaded from outside these secure walls?
5. Connect to Trusted Computers
Sometimes, you might not be the sole cause of the data breach you are suffering but a computer you might have connected to sometimes in the past.
iOS units are more secure against these forms of attacks than Android units are, but that does not mean they are not susceptible too. Thus, we don’t recommend connecting to any device you see lying around. This device could be ridden with a virus just waiting to export itself onto your device – or other malicious code with other sinister intent.
6. Back up regularly
Android phones are offered the beauty of Google Drive for backup while iPhone users can easily make do with the provisions of the iCloud. Thus, there is no reason why you should not back up your important files.
This includes, but is not limited to, all of the app data, images, videos, files and other documents you want to keep.
Depending on how sensitive your data is, we recommend creating two separate backup files in two different locations. That way, you can always be sure nothing will ruin your backups too.
While backups will only be required in worst-case scenarios, they give you peace of mind against such instances as ransomware attacks, virus attacks, etc.
7. Install security software
This cannot be stressed enough.
There are a lot of threats which you won’t even see coming. While taking active attempts at better security and safety with all of the above tips, installing security software means you are protected even when you are not looking too.
The ideal software to install in this case is an antivirus pick. There are a lot of options you can choose from on either of the application stores on both devices. It is also recommended that you go for paid options as they offer a more comprehensive coverage plan than the basic freebie package.
Likewise, ensure you always update your antivirus software so that you are up to speed with current virus definitions lest you fall victim to new attacks, even with a premium antivirus software.
As mentioned above, you can also install a VPN (or other related solutions) if you would be spending a lot of time on public/ free Wi-Fi networks.
This is not the holy grail of Android and iPhone security, but they will ensure you keep a better, more secure profile for the sake of your data.
Do you feel we have left out any important security tips for these platforms? We will love to hear from you in the comments.