In this day and age, our smartphones are closer to us than our family and friends, usually within arm’s reach 24/7. Statista reported that mobile phone usage in Australia has continued to rise steadily since 2011, with the total number of users predicted to reach 20 million in 2019. Smartphone penetration has also increased in recent years and is estimated to reach nearly 85 percent during 2019.
What makes our phones indispensable to us are those handy, sometimes all-consuming apps. Gone are the days that we only use our phones for personal reasons, as phones are used on a daily basis to conduct business on the move.
Keeping your data safe has become an important consideration, especially since our phones hold a goldmine of both personal and business information. Take note of the following do’s and don’ts to minimise your chances of getting hacked.
- Research the app and its developers
Before you even download an app, do a little detective work using “Inspector Google”, i.e. do a Google search to see if there have been any scams or hacks related to the app. You can also look at the ratings and reviews, both in the app stores and on independent review websites.
- Download apps from official sources
Although not foolproof, downloading apps from the Apple App Store or Google Play store is likely to be the safest bet, as the apps would have been vetted before being listed in the stores.
- Use strong passwords
A strong password is very long, does not contain any words from the dictionary, has no correlation to your personal information and has a mix of upper and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols. Using a password manager such as LastPass will make this easier as you only need to remember one master password.
- Update your OS and apps to the latest version
Updating your phone’s operating system (OS) and apps to the latest versions will add another layer of protection, as the developers should be constantly improving both the functionality and security of the OS and apps. They know that if data security is compromised, they could damage their reputation irreparably.
- Be careful of exposing business data
With many of us using our phones for both work and play, we need to be particularly careful of exposing confidential business data. This involves educating ourselves about online security and ensuring that we adhere to any guidelines from the IT department.
- Use the same password for all your apps
If you use the same password, when one app is compromised, all the apps using that password will also be affected.
- Give too much information
Apps ask for all sorts of information about you when you register to use them. Keep this information to the bare minimum as anything you share stands the risk of being used to profile you.
- Blindly accept all permissions
Many of us have been guilty of accepting permissions without thinking about why an app is asking for them. Ask yourself whether permission is necessary for the app to function for you, and if not, question why they are asking for it or don’t download the app at all.
- Access public Wi-Fi networks
Any information shared on an open, public network is not encrypted and is susceptible to hackers. If you have to access a public Wi-Fi network, experts recommend using a virtual private network (VPN), which will enable you to send and receive data while remaining anonymous and secure online. CNET has compiled a handy Directory of VPN providers.
Putting measures in place to protect yourself and your business is essential as the growing use of technology creates a significant risk. We can assist with cyber security insurance to protect you against loss and damage should you experience a data security breach. Get in touch with us to discuss the benefits available with this insurance cover.
Important Note: All insurance policies have exclusions. Please refer to the Product Disclosure Statement or Policy Wording to decide whether an insurance policy meets your needs.