A properly secured smartphone, tablet and laptop are necessary to keep cyber criminals or other intruders out. If a device falls into the wrong hands, it can cause a lot of damage. These tips will get you started.
Access and applications
- Use only safe applications and programs. Only install applications from an reliable app store (e.g. Google Play, App Store) or from an official vendor (e.g. LG, Samsung, SONY, Amazon, etc.). Never install an app from a source you do not know. Google and Apple put a lot of effort in making sure that the apps they provide on their store do not contain malware. Even if someone manages to offer a malicious application in one of these shops, Google or Apple will quickly discover this and correct their mistake. The problem with other providers is that they do not offer the same security guarantee.
- Limit the access of your applications to what is strictly necessary. For example, a calculator app does not need access to your location or contacts.
- Only allow access to Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and Near Field Communication (NFC), data, geolocation, etc, when necessary. Do not select automatic activation (e.g. for Wi-Fi).
- Regularly delete applications you do not use and frequently check the data your applications use to detect inappropriate traffic.
Keep your devices up to date
- Activate automatic updates for your hardware and software. This ensures that as soon as a vulnerability is detected, your device will be better protected. Read more about automatic updates and how to activate them.
- Shut down your devices every day. After all, updates are usually performed automatically at start-up.
- Activate an antivirus.
Secure your devices with a strong password or code
- Choose a good PIN code for your SIM card. When you receive a new SIM card, choose a suitable PIN code that is not directly linked to you. PIN codes such as 0000, 1111 or 1234 should be avoided, as well as your date of birth or the PIN code of your eID or bank card.
- Choose a password or numerical code and not a pattern. A pattern sometimes remains visible on the screen.
- Activate the automatic locking of your smartphone when it is inactive (maximum 1 minute)
- If possible, set up your smartphone or tablet to lock for a certain time after a number of failed attempts and to automatically delete your data after too many access attempts. Of course, make sure that good back-ups are available.
- Do not leave your devices unattended.
- Make sure others do not have access to your devices.
- Keep your access keys and passwords secret.
- Sensitive calls can be made in a private room or in a secure area.