Keeping your Mobile Safe and Secure the easy way

I couldn’t live without my phone, could you? I don’t know what I would do If I couldn’t access all my apps and information. Here are my top 7 tips to keep your mobile, and the data stored on it, protected from thieves and hackers…

1. Use the PIN feature
I’ve never come across a mobile phone that didn’t offer a PIN-lock when switching the phone on, and most smart phones will let you choose to require a PIN re-entered after the phone has been left untouched for a set period. It won’t stop a thief stealing your phone, but at least if they do they won’t be able to gain access to all your data such as photos and contact details!

2. Turn off Bluetooth
Bluetooth is a wonderful feature that creates a virtual link between two devices and allows data to be shared between them. Unfortunately, it also provides a platform for scheming hackers to get into your phone, where they can install viruses or gather data such as saved passwords. If you’re not using it, switch it off.

3. Install anti-virus software
You can keep Bluetooth switched off, avoid suspicious websites and never open email or message attachments from strangers, but occasionally malicious software will still make its way onto your phone. You wouldn’t use the Internet without a firewall, so why risk it with your phone?

Image: Janineomg

4. Keep it safe
Keep it safe, literally. Your phone is most likely worth £300 or more and you wouldn’t put that kind of cash down on the table in a bar, or sticking out of your pocket, so why do it with your mobile?

Unless it’s pressed against your ear keep your phone inside a zipped pocket or bag, and be aware of your surroundings too — thieves have been known to snatch phones right from people’s hands mid conversation!

5. Install security apps
If you have a smart phone, take advantage of the many security apps out there and protect your phone. Check out this list of security apps for the iPhone if you have an Apple handset. Another one that’s not on the list is Find My iPhone, a fantastic app that lets you see the location of your phone on a map and wipe data remotely. Oh, and it’s free!

Image: _sarchi

6. Find your IMEI
Every mobile phone has its own IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) number. It’s a 15 digit code that’s usually located underneath your phones battery, or you can find it on most phones by typing *#06#* on your keypad.

Note your IMEI down — NOT on your phone, obviously. If your handset is lost or stolen the phone company can use the IMEI to block the device, rendering it useless to whoever gets their hands on it.

7. Report theft immediately
If your phone is stolen — or even just lost — make sure you report it to the relevant people immediately. Your service provider may be able to block it before the thief runs up a huge phone bill (which, unfortunately, you are likely still liable for — hence the benefit of a PIN), especially if you have your IMEI number to hand (see point 6).

Many insurers will only cover mobile phone theft if reported within 24 hours, and some also require you to report it to the police in that time frame too. Plus, the quicker you report it and the more people you notify, the better your chances of getting it back!
Do you have any more tips on keeping your mobile phone safe?

The Author: James Duval is a gadget freak and lover of all things tech. He blogs about the technology that’s improving security, be it mobile phone apps, plastic card printers, ID card software or something else!