Setting Up Your Gadgets Securely

It’s that time of year again – the last quarter of the year is a time for many of us to buy a new smartphone, as we look at the new devices launched relatively recently by Apple, Samsung, and all the other phone providers and decide which one we shall use for the duration of our next smartphone contract.

I’m sure that many of us will take home brand new iPhones and Android devices and set it up just the way we want our personal devices to be. We should take a minute to remember, however, that because these devices are so personal to us, the damage a hacked smartphone can do to is significant.

Imagine what would happen if a hacker stole your personal data. We don’t have to imagine, however, as this has happened to many users in 2014. At the very least, this is embarrassing to the user in question, but to some it may be more than that.

Your wallet may be at risk as well. Some cybercriminals try to sign their victims up for various premium SMS services that charge users as part of their monthly bill; others go for bigger fish and try to compromise the user’s online banking accounts – either by intercepting any confirmation codes sent to the user or by hijacking any mobile banking sessions completely.

Either way, we need to do what we can and make sure that our personal mobile devices stay that way – personal. When you buy a new smartphone or tablet you need to set it up not only to make yourself comfortable with the device, but also to make things more secure.

On Apple devices, the best hing you can do to stay safe is not do something else: jailbreaking. By default, all iOS devices like the new iPhone live in a walled garden – what gets in has been approved by Apple. They do a reasonably good job of keeping their users safe.

This changes, however, if you jailbreak your phone. Yes, you can now install apps that Apple didn’t approve, but these apps can be security risks. In addition, you may not be able to update your device to the latest version of iOS. In short: if you want to keep your iOS device secure, not jailbreaking is an excellent start.

What about Android devices? What you can do here is to minimize your exposure to malicious apps. Don’t allow apps to be installed from risky sources, like third-party app stores. You should also install a security solution on your phone to catch any threats that may slip through and reach your phone.

In addition to protecting yourself from mobile malware, you should also realize that because you carry a smartphone everywhere, you can lose your device very easily. If this happens, you may end up losing control of your personal data. Make sure you turn on your lock screen password and device encryption so that if you do lose your phone, the risk of losing your own data is minimized.

A smartphone is not just a shiny gadget; it is also a storehouse for large amounts of your own valuable information. When you buy your new phone, keep that in mind and set your phone up accordingly.

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