Anyone who’s ever used a smartphone of any kind is a witness to just how useful they are, and how much more difficult our everyday lives would be without them. Whether it’s texting your friends, sending e-mail, sharing business documents or virtually anything else, chances are that there’s an app on your smartphone that can do it.

However, if you tend to use your smartphone for any type of business or keep any sort of sensitive private or business-oriented information on it, you need to be aware that, just like your PC, your phone’s security can get breached and all of that information can potentially be compromised. Fortunately, there are quite a few ways in which you can increase the security of your handheld device, so now we’re going to be discussing a few of them.

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Use a PIN Code

Leaving your phone on swipe-to-unlock mode is one of the biggest mistakes you can make security-wise. It basically means that all you need to do is take a bathroom break and leave your phone on your desk, and anyone skilled enough can get into your phone and get instant access to any interesting information. The first step to securing your device is locking it, and for this purpose we highly recommend that you choose the PIN code over the pattern lock.

Think about it – it takes the same amount of effort to remember a pattern as it does to memorize a 4-digit code, but patterns have been proven to be much easier to hack. So do yourself a favor and go with the PIN code – you’ll thank yourself later.

Don’t Root Your Phone

Some apps require you to obtain full administrative privileges on your device, and this is most commonly done by a process known as “rooting” your phone. If you’re an advanced user, chances are that you’ve heard this term before, and whatever guide you look up on how to do this, you’ll most likely come across a warning saying that you’re “rooting your phone at your own risk”.

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There’s a number of reasons for this. First of all, you can potentially do some damage to your phone yourself if you have all the privileges, altering your system in potentially harmful ways. But a much more pressing concern is that if you have all the privileges, that means that there’s one less thing stopping a malware infection from doing some serious harm to your device. Underprivileged accounts are the developer’s safety net to ensure the system remains protected both from the user and from intruders, and if you remove that safety net, you’re undeniably putting yourself at additional risk.

Browse through a VPN

A good way to protect your device from an outside cyber-attack is to encrypt your connection, and these days any good VPN can do this for you. By connecting to a VPN server, all the data that you transmit through the Internet is broken down into smaller segments called packets and encrypted, making it much harder for third parties to get their hands on your information. Once the information arrives safely at its destination, it will automatically get decrypted so it can be read normally, but if it’s intercepted anywhere in-between, this process will be much harder. Additionally, the minute you install a VPN and connect to one of its servers, you receive a new IP address, which makes your connection more private and prevents hackers from learning about your location, your user agent, your ISP etc.

Monitor Your Wireless Connection

Wireless networks are a big security problem that smartphones unfortunately have to deal with. Public wireless networks in particular are pretty insecure because a lot of people tend to use them at the same time, and that means that all of them are essentially inside a large LAN. This makes the hacker’s job of breaching your security much easier than if he was doing it over a wide area network.

For this reason, if by any chance your Wi-Fi  is set to automatically connect to open networks, you should probably disable this option. In fact, disable Wi-Fi altogether when you’re not using it and always keep an eye on what’s happening to your wireless connection, as it’s one of the easiest ways that your phone’s security can get breached.

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