Our mobile devices are increasingly becoming as capable as desktops every day! More apps are created every day that help ease and enhance our lives. With many apps freely available and only taking seconds to download, it seems harmless to download as many as you like.

Almost 200 Billion – yes Billion – applications were downloaded globally to mobile devices in 2017 alone! 200 billion apps. Worse, though, it’s a certainty that some hundreds of millions of them were infected with some variety of malware, adware or other unwanted hidden “features”.

As our personal and business lives increasingly migrate to the mobility of cloud computing, it’s even more important for us all to practice good cyber-hygiene. The health of our privacy, personal and professional data depends upon it.

Here are five great tips:

 

1. Clean Out Your Phone’s Apps

The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to tidy up your electronics! When it comes to your phone, one easy way to do this is to get rid of all your unused apps. If you haven’t opened an app in a while go ahead and delete it. You can always redownload later if necessary.

Removing unused apps will help your phone’s memory, and also rid your phone of security vulnerabilities. Even if an app is closed and unused it can still collect your personal data.

This is also a good time to double check your other apps’ privileges. Are there any apps you have downloaded that are tracking your location or have access to your private photos? Review your privacy settings to be sure your data isn’t being sent anywhere you don’t want it to go!

 

2. Use Mobile Banking Apps Securely

Many banking services offer apps, and these apps provide all kinds of conveniences that save the hassle of physically going to the bank. Why wouldn’t you take advantage of depositing a check into your account anytime, any place?

Of course, moving money around digitally poses risks. So always use strong passphrases for all online accounts and that you always log out once you’ve finished using the app. If you have the option for a two-step authentication process, use it! And, of course, be sure you’re downloading your bank’s authenticated app from your phone’s official app store. Now you can rest easy!

 

3. Remove App Privileges from Your Social Media Accounts

Sometimes the quickest way to log into a site is to connect via your Facebook or another social media platform. While this is a time saver and allows you to circumvent creating accounts, this action leaves these accounts potentially vulnerable to breach or compromise.

Luckily, it’s a cinch to disable apps that you’ve logged into with Facebook! Just visit your Settings page, find the Apps tabs, and start exiting out of unwanted apps and websites. You may be surprised by how many apps have access to your social media accounts.

This is a good habit to create; deauthorize your accounts from unnecessary apps at least once a month.

 

4. Read the Reviews and Fine Print

Most of us probably don’t take the time to read the small print of the end-user license agreements that we sign every time we download an app. But buyer beware! When you read the fine print, you’ll learn that in downloading many apps, you grant them access to much of your PII. According to CNN your wireless carrier gives away your data, like your location and phone number, to apps as soon as the app is usable on your phone. You will need to access and adjust the app’s privacy settings after it’s downloaded to keep yourself protected.

Another good idea: read an app’s reviews before downloading it. How many stars does the app have? Do reviews skew negatively positively? Do any reviews specifically mention security flaws or features? If you are unsure about an app, reading others’ experiences may help you figure out if it’s safe or not. When all else fails, google it!

 

5. Download a Mobile Security App

Use apps to your advantage to keep your mobile device safe by downloading and using a mobile security app. These apps will help deflect malware, secure your PII, keep credentials safe, and alert you to any known vulnerabilities with apps you’ve already downloaded.

Check out this list of the Top Five Mobile Security Apps to find one that fits your needs. Whether you’re using an Android or IOS device, you must use software to keep it secure!

 

Do you have a mobile security tip to share with us? What about a favorite mobile security app? Tell us how you keep your mobile devices safe and secure!

Meg Krafft

Digital Marketing Assistant at The Security Awareness Company
After starting out creating digital and print marketing for a real estate company, Meg now assists in keeping up the marketing needs for SAC. When not working she's probably watching a good movie or indulging in local art and music.