The Most Important Mobile Security Resolutions for 2017

January gets a bad rap. A dreary month, the air is bitterly cold, and the days are so short that you could miss the daylight in the blink of an eye. At the same time, we try to stay positive and stick to our resolutions for the new year. The common promises to eat better, workout more, and drink less all fall under a larger umbrella of self-care. Another important (and often overlooked) way to care for yourself is to make the promise to protect your privacy in the new year.

Think about it – our lives are now controlled by our mobile devices. We operate nearly everything with our handheld devices, whether we’re doing some online shopping, talking to a potential romantic interest, or turning the lights on and the heat down. Should you lose your device or have an outsider gain access to all your personal information, there is potentially a lot on the line. You could be forced to pay a large sum of money to regain control, or alternatively, you’ll have to pay to replace your stolen device. Knowing how to secure your device and keep it safe is a simple and effective way to avoid the headache of stolen information. With these simple guidelines, you’ll be ready to face the new year head-on with the comfort of knowing that your mobile device is safe in your hands. Here are the top resolutions to make for keeping your mobile device safe in 2017.

  • Keep It to Yourself. Don’t let your phone out of your sight when you’re in public, even for a few minutes. This is the simplest – and most obvious – way to keep your phone locked down, but who hasn’t left their phone behind in a changing room or at the bar? Knowing where your mobile device is at all times is the first priority to keeping it secure.
  • Put a Password on It. If you have not changed the password on your iPhone since the day you got it, it could mean you still only have a 4-number passcode (maybe you set it to 1234, or even 0000). On updated devices, iPhones now require users to provide a 6-number passcode, or a series of letters, which makes guessing a bit more difficult. Should your phone get lost in the mix, creating a longer, more secure passcode will buy you a bit of time before whoever picks it up can get into it.
  • Encryption is Kryptonite. Sending messages, pictures, and other files through messaging services like WhatsApp, Viber, or Telegram means that the data you share will be encrypted. This is one of the best ways to keep the data on your device secure from hackers who can remotely access everything that goes in and out of your mobile device. You may think that you don’t have anything to hide in your conversations with friends, but all that shared data leads a hacker to more information about you.
  • Pull the Trigger on a Remote Wipe. In case you do lose your phone permanently, make sure your device is set up to do a remote wipe. It’s a bummer to lose all your data, but knowing that your personal information is secure is worth the loss.
  • Back, Back, Back it Up. In order to avoid a complete loss of data if you wipe your mobile device, always keep your information backed up to a hard drive, the cloud, or both. Whether you use your iTunes account on your computer, the Phone Transfer app for your Android, or connect to the cloud, routinely backing up your data is the safest way to store your personal information.
  • Stay Up-to-Date. Hackers are constantly finding new holes in mobile device operating systems that allow them to take advantage of users. OS builders, in turn, crunch to patch up the newest version of the operating system. Taking the time to update your phone to the newest operating system will mean that it’s that much more secure.
  • Public Wi-Fi is a Major No-No. We just can’t repeat this enough. Public Wi-Fi seems like the most convenient way to avoid data charges when you’re shopping for a warmer winter coat on your mobile device, but connecting to insecure Wi-Fi could cost you more in the long run. Shopping malls, many modes of public transit, and even entire cities offer public Wi-Fi, as an attempt to make the connected-world even easier to access. However, if it’s easy for you to join, it’s easy for hackers to hack, and you could be hit with a major device breach.
  • Say “Yes” to Anti-Malware. After taking all these resolutions into consideration, you should take the extra step to install anti-malware software onto your phone. Don’t throw away all your hard work by getting hit with a virus when you accidentally download a strange file. McAfee Mobile Security will ensure that you have peace-of-mind about files you store on your device.

We’ve made resolution–writing easy. Now, you can focus on sticking to these simple guidelines for a safer and more secure year. If you do think your phone has been hacked or your personal security has been breached, you should be sure to check for suspicious payments on credit cards, and download McAfee Mobile Security onto your Apple or Android device.

Looking for even more mobile security tips? Be sure to follow @IntelSec_Home on Twitter and like us on Facebook.

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