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Don't Touch My Phone: Why You Need to Protect Your Smartphone from Theft and Hacking
Smartphones are more than just devices that we use to make calls, send messages, or browse the internet. They are also our personal assistants, our wallets, our cameras, our entertainment centers, and our lifelines. They store a lot of sensitive information, such as our contacts, photos, emails, passwords, bank accounts, social media accounts, and more.
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That's why phone security is crucial. If our phones are stolen or hacked, we could lose not only our devices but also our data, our privacy, our identity, and our money. In this article, we will explain the importance of phone security and the main threats that users face. We will also provide some tips on how to prevent phone theft and loss, how to protect your phone from hacking and malware, and how to recover your data if your phone is stolen or lost.
How Common is Phone Theft and What are the Consequences?
Phone theft is a serious problem that affects millions of people around the world every year. According to some statistics :
About 446,000 handsets are stolen each year in the UK, which is a staggering 1,222 per day.
About 12% of phone theft lead to fraudulent charges and 9% to identity theft.
About 60% of smartphone theft victims file police reports.
10% of victims do not make any effort to find their phones because they dont know where to start.
The consequences of phone theft can be devastating for the victims. They could lose access to their contacts, photos, messages, documents, and other personal files. They could also have their accounts hacked, their identity stolen, their credit cards used, or their personal information exposed. They could also face emotional distress, inconvenience, and financial loss.
How to Prevent Phone Theft and Loss
Use a Lock How to Protect Your Phone from Hacking and Malware
Phone hacking and malware are also serious threats that can compromise your phone security and privacy. Phone hacking is when someone gains unauthorized access to your phone or its data, such as your messages, calls, emails, photos, or accounts. Malware is malicious software that can infect your phone and cause harm, such as stealing your data, displaying ads, spying on you, or damaging your device.
Phone hacking and malware can happen in various ways, such as through unsecured Wi-Fi networks, fake apps, phishing emails, or malicious links or attachments. To protect your phone from hacking and malware, here are some tips :
Choose Your Apps Carefully and Monitor Their Permissions
Apps are one of the main sources of phone hacking and malware. Some apps may be fake, infected, or malicious, and they may try to access your data or harm your device. To choose your apps carefully and monitor their permissions, follow these steps :
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Download apps only from trusted sources, such as the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store. Avoid downloading apps from unknown or suspicious websites or links.
Check the ratings, reviews, and permissions of the apps before downloading them. Look for any red flags, such as low ratings, negative reviews, or excessive permissions.
Limit the permissions that you grant to the apps. Only allow the permissions that are necessary for the app to function properly. For example, a camera app may need access to your camera and photos, but not to your contacts or location.
Review and manage the permissions of the apps regularly. Go to Settings > Apps > Permissions and see which apps have access to what data. Revoke any permissions that are not needed or that you are not comfortable with.
Delete any apps that you do not use or trust. Go to Settings > Apps and uninstall any apps that you do not need or that seem suspicious.
Update Your Phone's Operating System and Apps Regularly
Updates are another way to protect your phone from hacking and malware. Updates are software patches that fix bugs, improve performance, and enhance security. They can also protect your phone from new threats and vulnerabilities that hackers and malware may exploit. To update your phone's operating system and apps regularly, follow these steps :
Check for updates frequently. Go to Settings > System > System Update and see if there are any updates available for your phone's operating system. Go to Google Play Store or Apple App Store and see if there are any updates available for your apps.
Download and install the updates as soon as possible. Make sure you have a stable internet connection and enough battery power before updating. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the update process.
Enable automatic updates if possible. Go to Settings > System > System Update and turn on the option to automatically download and install updates. Go to Google Play Store or Apple App Store and turn on the option to automatically update your apps.
Avoid Clicking on Suspicious Links or Attachments
Links and attachments are another source of phone hacking and malware. Some links and attachments may be phishing attempts, which are fraudulent messages that try to trick you into revealing your personal information or downloading malware. To avoid clicking on suspicious links or attachments, follow these tips :
Do not open any links or attachments that you receive from unknown or untrusted senders. Delete them immediately.
Do not open any links or attachments that look suspicious or too good to be true. For example, if you receive a link that claims you have won a prize or a tax refund, or an attachment that claims to be an invoice or a receipt.
Do not open any links or attachments that ask you to verify your account, update your password, or provide any personal information. These could be phishing attempts that try to steal your identity or hack your accounts.
Check the sender's email address, the subject line, and the content of the message before opening any links or attachments. Look for any signs of phishing, such as spelling errors, grammar mistakes, mismatched domains, or urgent requests.
Use a reputable antivirus software on your phone and scan any links or attachments before opening them. This can help you detect and remove any malware that may be hidden in them.
How to Recover Your Data if Your Phone is Stolen or Lost
If your phone is stolen or lost, you may still have a chance to recover your data if you have backed it up beforehand. Backing up your data means making a copy of it on another device or service, such as the cloud or an external device. Backing up your data can help you restore it if you lose your phone or if it gets damaged, corrupted, or erased. To recover your data if your phone is stolen or lost, follow these steps :
Back Up Your Data to the Cloud or an External Device
The first step to recover your data is to back it up regularly to the cloud or an external device. The cloud is a service that stores your data online and allows you to access it from any device or location. An external device is a physical device that stores your data offline and connects to your phone via a cable or a wireless connection. To back up your data to the cloud or an external device, follow these steps :
For Android phones: Go to Settings > System > Backup. Turn on the option to back up your data to Google Drive. You can also choose what data you want to back up, such as contacts, photos, messages, apps, or settings. Alternatively, you can use a third-party app, such as Dropbox, OneDrive, or Samsung Cloud, to back up your data to the cloud. To back up your data to an external device, such as a computer, a hard drive, or a flash drive, connect your phone to the device