" ITREALMS: Secure your smart devices in six ways


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Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Secure your smart devices in six ways

The world has gone mobile. This fact is justified by the increasing use of the smartphone and other mobile devices, with many tech-savvy individuals relying on these gadgets as handy substitutes to laptops and desktop computers. Considering the many tasks people carry out on their devices include mobile banking and online shopping, among others, the importance of ensuring the security of that device cannot be over-emphasized.

The following tips from the Research and Development Unit of Yudala, Nigeria’s fastest growing e-commerce platform, will help keep your devices secure and less vulnerable to attack from hackers or data compromise in the event of a loss.

1.Embrace encryption: One of the best ways to safeguard your device is to encrypt your phone storage. Most smartphones have this encryption feature built in, hence your data is seamlessly encrypted even without your notice. Should your device not have this feature automatically enabled, you can activate it manually. With encryption, all the data in your device including pictures, messages, emails, etc. are scrambled into unreadable form. In the event that your device gets lost or stolen, unwarranted access to your sensitive data is prevented as your mails, videos, images and other personal information cannot be retrieved or decrypted without the PIN or password you set while encrypting the phone.

2.Always use a VPN when on public Wi-Fi: Free Wi-Fi is often a source of joy for most smart device users. However, indiscriminate use of open Wi-Fi connections poses substantial security risks especially from lurking, eagle-eyed hackers. To avoid jeopardizing your personal details, it is advisable to always use VPN when on public Wi-Fi. VPN stands for Virtual Private Network. Through this, you can access the Internet using a private network while connecting to a public or unsecured Wi-Fi. In other words, a VPN creates a secure, encrypted connection, which can be thought of as a tunnel, between your computer and a server operated by the VPN service. Applications running across the VPN may therefore benefit from the functionality, security, and management of the private network. There are several free VPNs you can download and install on your device to provide this extra layer of security.

3.Never give out your device’s IMEI number: IMEI (International Mobile Equipment Identity) is a unique 15-digit serial number given to a device. Every mobile phone, GSM modem or device with a built-in phone or modem has its own unique IMEI number. With this number, you can check some information about the device such as the country of origin, manufacturer/brand or model. Scammers posing as representatives of telecoms companies have been known to request the IMEI number of phone and other device users. Please bear in mind that it is unwise to give out your device’s IMEI number. You may just be handing over the vital information required for a potential hacker to clone your device and use it maliciously.

4.Be app-smart and not app-happy: Many smart device users are often app-happy. They waste no time in downloading every new app they come across without a second thought to the benefits or access to personal information requested by these apps.  To ensure your device is better secured, you must endeavor to be app-smart rather than being app-happy. As a matter of importance, you must make it a habit to read the full detailed description of any app you wish to download. A significant number of apps request access to some features that may compromise your data such as your phone’s contacts, camera, emails, etc. In cases such as this and to avoid exposing your details, it is best to search for a less-intrusive alternative. Furthermore, being app-smart means that you download apps only from a trusted source such as AppStore for iOS devices or Google Play for Android.

5.Software update is key: One of the most essential means of securing your device is through regular software update. This involves keeping the operating system software and various application software current with the latest updates from the manufacturer. It is important to note that these updates will likely include security improvements too which will make your device more resilient to attacks.  As a result, you must bear in mind, when making the decision to purchase a phone or mobile device, to choose a model that can be updated throughout the device’s lifespan.

6.Set up remote wipe on your device: For most smartphone users, this feature is often supported. All you have to do is turn it on. With this functionality, you are protected from compromising your sensitive information as you can easily wipe all data remotely once you lose your device. Remote wipe occurs as the first thing when the device connects to the internet. Interestingly, through other associated features, you can even take some steps to locating your missing device by either ringing the lost phone, changing the lock screen with a customized message or erasing all your data.

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