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How to use your smartphone smartly

November 02, 2016 by Fredrik Debong

In our last article about data security, we explained why security is so important to us and what we do to protect your data. However, you also play a vital role in protecting your smartphone security and privacy.

When using your smartphone, there is always a small risk for unauthorized people to access your data. It doesn’t matter whether we talk about health related apps, a messenger app, or your banking app. In order to keep your data as secure as possible, there are a few simple tips to keep in mind.

1. Fake certificates open the door to strangers

We now use our smartphones just as much (or more) as a desktop or laptop, and malicious strangers can trick us into allowing access to spy on our otherwise secure communications by asking to install a seemingly harmless “certificate” on the phone. So please make sure you never accept foreign or untrusted certificates on your mobile phone.

If you are asked to install an unknown certificate when surfing the web or when opening a link or attachment to an email, always click on “Cancel.” You can also check to see if you have an unsafe certificate installed and delete it (iOS under Settings>General>Profiles and Device Management, and on Android under Settings>Security>Trusted login data>Users).

2. Encrypted browsing on public networks

We’re happiest when online, right? And best if we have access around the clock. Public wifi at the coffee shop, at the train station or hotel keeps us connected and spares our valuable data volume. However, caution should be exercised when connected on public and open wifi networks. Therefore, make sure that all connections to the internet are encrypted to make it harder for unauthorized users to spy on your browsing and data traffic.

3. Your PIN is the first layer of protection

This tip you’ve heard so many times, but we also can not emphasize it enough: Your PIN is the first layer of protection for your mobile phone and should be chosen carefully. Make it an arbitrary number combination that has nothing to do with your person. Your birthday or zip code are bad choices. Also make sure no one’s watching over your shoulder when unlocking your phone. If they see your code then snatch your phone, that’s the end of it! And keep an eye on your surroundings – don’t underestimate the risk of someone grabbing your phone and running away while out on the street or in the subway.

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4. Safe surfing with your personal hotspot

The personal hotspot function of your smartphone is very practical, but should only be switched on when you need it. Also, make sure to choose a strong password to deter strangers from connecting and using your data volume. This also applies to the Bluetooth connections on your device. Turn on discovery mode only when you’re trying to connect to another device and never accept unfamiliar connections.

5. Regular data backup: Small effort for great benefits

If your mobile phone is lost or stolen, it’s helpful if you can remotely access your data (contacts, notes, photos, etc.) and restore them once you replace your device. And don’t forget to store your encrypted data somewhere safe and update it regularly (weekly, perhaps). Also, be careful about with who you share information. For example, legitimate companies would never ask you to reveal your password to an employee or share similarly sensitive info.

It’s important to remember that there’s always a small risk when connecting to the internet with your smartphone. But we hope that with these quick tips and a little thoughtfulness, you’re on the safe side. With this in mind, happy surfing!

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