Having one device that can hold all of your information easily and in a mobile form has made every day life significantly easier. However, with any groundbreaking innovation comes groundbreaking security issues. In this article we’ll look at smartphone security and the many ways you can improve yours.

Smartphone Security and Fingerprint Sensors

In the last five years fingerprint sensors have become one of the most common tools used to unlock smartphones. Recently, two groups of researchers at New York University and Michigan State University found that there are ways to digitally generate fingerprints that can fool those sensors. Because manufacturers have implemented the fingerprint sensors in extremely secure services like Apple Pay, having a way to hack them is incredibly beneficial to the people who want to hack into your secure information.

Most of the researchers involved in the study agree that this form of hacking is highly unlikely. Still, it is best to be as prepared as you can be. One of the ways to combat being hacked through your fingerprint sensor is to set up a mandatory passcode. Make sure it is unique enough that even someone close to you couldn’t easily guess it.

How Can You Secure Your Smartphone?

Only download trusted apps from trusted sources. Trusted sources include the Google Play store, the Apple App store, Amazon, or Microsoft’s Windows store. While outside application sources aren’t inherently bad, the risk of downloading a malware infested app far outweighs the potential worth. You also want to make sure that you’re checking every application’s privacy settings before downloading them. Most of us ignore the terms and conditions of just about everything we download, but the fact of the matter is that something malicious might be hiding in those conditions. Before you check the “I have read” box, at least read through the privacy section.

It’s also vital that you update your device’s software and the apps you have installed, regularly. Because malware and viruses are constantly evolving, your device’s software must do the same to stay protected.

To protect your information from potential robberies, be sure to install a tracking application on your device. Apple IOS has the Find My iPhone app, while Android has the Android Device Manager. Should your device be misplaced or snatched, both of these apps give you the option to delete the information you choose from anywhere.

Mobile security threats

1. Data leakage

It may sound like a diagnosis from the robot urologist, but data leakage is widely seen as being one of the most worrisome threats to enterprise security as we head into 2018. What makes the issue especially vexing is that it often isn’t nefarious by nature; rather, it’s a matter of users inadvertently making ill-advised decisions about which apps are able to see and transfer their information.

2. Social engineering

The tried-and-true tactic of trickery is just as troubling on the mobile front as it is on desktops. Despite the ease with which one would think social engineering cons could be avoided, they remain astonishingly effective.

3. Wi-Fi interference

A mobile device is only as secure as the network through which it’s transmitting data. In an era where we’re all constantly connecting to public Wi-Fi networks, that means our info often isn’t as secure as we might assume.

4. Out-of-date devices

Smartphones, tablets and smaller connected devices — commonly known as the internet of things (IoT) — pose a new risk to enterprise security in that unlike traditional work devices, they generally don’t come with guarantees of timely and ongoing software updates.

5. Physical device breaches

Last but not least is something that seems silly but remains a disturbingly realistic threat: A lost or unattended device can be a major security risk, especially if it doesn’t have a strong PIN or password and full data encryption.