Five tips on securing your device, and what to do if the unthinkable happens

There’s no denying that the level of technology surrounding us these days, and the benefits and advantages that come with it, is truly remarkable – especially compared to what was available to us just a few years ago. It is something that has assisted us in our lives so efficiently and effortlessly that we can now (the majority already have) put ‘all our eggs in one tablet’ so to speak.

But what would happen if your tablet or smartphone wound up in the wrong hands, even for just a few minutes? To those in the know, the potential threat and damage would be unthinkable. To those not in the know, or to those who haven’t really considered the potential harm that would ensue, this article serves to help you plan for just that.

Lock it. Simple. Just do it.

You would be shocked at the amount of smartphone and tablet users who neglect to take advantage of this overly simple, yet eternally valuable feature, for the silliest of reasons. In an era where people are accustomed to instant access and gratification, adding a layer of ‘inconvenience’ for some people simply won’t do.

Yet what’s at stake from making such a flippant decision is enormous: simply as a result of failing to lock your phone. Whether you do this via PIN code, fingerprint or a personal swipe gesture, you minimize, in an instant, the risk of visual hacking, loss of privacy, and data/identity theft, which are all likely to come knocking on your door if you don’t do it.

Protect your Apps

To add a further layer of security to your device you need to seriously consider locking certain apps, in particular the apps containing sensitive information like banking, email, or anything that can handle online payments. Failing to do this could compromise login details, passwords, and more painfully: bank balances. Making use of a free app such as App Lock will achieve just that and give you extra peace of mind.

Make sure your network is secure

While it’s natural to assume the Wi-Fi in your local coffee shop is perfectly safe and secure, don’t be too naïve in thinking carefree browsing is without its pitfalls. The guy sitting in the corner quietly supping on his seventh espresso could be decoding pieces of your transferred data and forming a meticulous translation into what he then receives as a list of your passwords.

Using an app to encrypt your outgoing data, by giving you an alternate VPN is absolutely necessary if you’re going to spend time on important or sensitive things like Internet banking in a public place.

What to do if your phone is lost or stolen

This simple tip may seem a little odd, but could significantly increase your chances of getting your phone back if someone finds it. Simply adding a message along the lines of ‘Reward offered for return’ to the lockscreen could actually make all the difference. You could also provide a displayed email address underneath for someone to contact you should they find it. Naturally, this email address would be set up to serve this purpose only, and would automatically forward any emails received to your real email address.

If this doesn’t bring much success and you really want to shift up to a more urgent gear you could use one of the many device-tracking apps to accurately locate your phone. Having said that, if (like many people) you have a huge amount of invaluable personal data that you feel just cannot be compromised, you’re only last resort is to wipe your device remotely.

There are apps available that can do this, and obviously it’s essential that you backup as often as possible, but if the day comes where the unthinkable does happen, you can feel safe in the knowledge that erasing the contents of your device and restoring the factory settings completely, from anywhere at any time, instantly removes the threat and simultaneously restores your peace of mind.

Scott Woz is a freelance writer and regular contributor to www.for-sale.co.uk

Image courtesy: Flickr