How to Protect Your Smartphone Data

Published On June 19, 2013 | Mobile

If you’re like most smartphone users, you’ve probably saved a lot of data to your device, including priceless photographs, contact information, bank account balances and social media account passwords. If this information were to fall into the hands of the wrong person, or accidentally get erased, it would be not only a hassle but a breach of security.

Don’t let that happen. Here are some tips for protecting your smartphone data.

First, lock your phone. Program a PIN into your phone so that if someone were to steal it, they would have a difficult time getting in and accessing your data. ESET released a study showing that 80 percent of smartphone owners use their device for work-related functions, but 37 percent of these folks do not use the auto-lock feature or use a PIN. If the phone gets stolen, proprietary information becomes vulnerable.

Avoid shady apps. Be sure to research an app before downloading it and giving it access to your smartphone data. Read reviews from other users of the app to make sure that it is trustworthy. If an app does not have any reviews, or its reviews all sound the same, it may be sketchy.

Download all system updates, as they can help plug security loopholes and protect your phone from attacks.

Sync your data to a “cloud,” so if you lose your smartphone, you can still access your info.

Consider a remote wipe app. If your phone is stolen, the remote wipe app allows you to turn on your computer and send a wireless or carrier signal to restore your phone to its factory settings. Any personal information is deleted off the device.

Download a locator app. If you were to misplace your smartphone, the remote ring feature can help you find it. If a thief gets their paws on your phone, the remote feature can turn on an obnoxious alarm, or it can turn on your phone’s GPS service to lead you to it.

Explore your custom recovery options. Android devices, for example, come with stock recovery consoles that provide a few options to reset your device, clear its cache and recover its operating system. With the advances in technology, developers are now offering custom recovery for Android and other devices, which significantly increases your options beyond the stock recovery capabilities.

If you keep private information stored on your smartphone — or even if you don’t — it’s a good idea to take some preventative measures to protect your data from thieves and other security threats. It only takes a few minutes to download an app or educate yourself on locator or recovery options, if only for your own peace of mind.

— By Lauren Triolo

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