So, you got a new, shiny, exciting phone or tablet this holiday season.
By now you’re probably rummaging through app stores looking for fun new apps to use, and old favorites like your banks, health apps, and social networks. Maybe you’re porting over all your old photos, music, and contacts. You’re likely setting up your personal and work emails so you can get connected right away.
Within an hour of opening up your brand new device, it likely holds and accesses a wealth of information about you in order to serve your needs as best it can.
That’s great, but you need to make sure you’re protecting all of that data right out of the gate! Here are a few tips on how:
Set a pin and passcode
Don’t be that guy (or gal)! There are so many people out there who don’t put a pin or passcode on their device because it takes longer to access their stuff, but that’s the point! One in 10 people are a victim of phone theft, according to a 2014 Lookout survey. If you don’t have a pin or passcode, that thief has free reign of your data — definitely not what you want for your brand new device.
Set up your voicemail
Sounds like a weird security suggestion, but did you know you can put a password on your voicemail so no one but you can access it? You can do this on iOS by going into Settings > Phone > Change Voicemail Password. On Android, go into Voicemail > Menu > Settings > Personalize voicemail.
Update your software
Sometimes carriers and manufacturers release updates for devices while they’ve been sitting on the shelves. Make sure that you update your device’s software if an update is available so that you receive all of the latest security and bug patches. (Check out our blog on Stagefright, an Android vulnerability that made headlines this past year, for why patches are so important)!
Only download from official app stores
While no app store is perfect, there are significantly fewer malicious apps in official app stores than you might find in third-party app stores. Don’t forget to read app reviews and research the developers as well. If something smells fishy, it probably is. Avoid downloading that app and search for a more reputable one.
Download a security app
Just in case any of those malicious apps do slip through, however, you want to make sure you have a security app in place that can keep you alerted when you encounter something bad. Many security apps also offer backup and theft services as well! You can find Lookout on Google Play and in the Apple App Store.
And if you’re getting rid of an old phone or tablet this holiday season, here are some tips on how to do so safely and successfully:
Unlink your accounts
You want to make sure that no one can access the accounts you’ve linked to your device based on its unique identifier. You should head to that account’s website (e.g. Facebook) and unlink your device from the account. If you’re an iOS user, you can also unlink your Apple ID and your iPhone/Pad by heading to https://supportprofile.apple.com/MySupportProfile.do
Backup all your data
Use backup services that you trust, or sync your phone to your computer to ensure that all those photos, contacts, and other data are safely stored away for you to access later.
Erase that data!
Follow the instructions provided by your phone manufacturer to wipe the data from your device. You don’t want the next owner opening it up and peeping the photos from your 2013 vacation on Oahu.
Remove the SIM card
Using a phone that has a removable SIM card? It’s the place where much of your mobile data lives. It’s better off staying with you just in case.
Don’t have Lookout? Interested in trying out our free security? Download us here: