January 06, 2013

Secure Your Phone

You have a smart phone.  It's got stuff on it. Important stuff - like names/addresses/phone numbers of people you know. Photos.  Email accounts. Facebook and twitter accounts.  You know - the stuff that you need to run your life in a modern world. The stuff you don't want bad people to get hold of.  Your stuff.

You carry it with you everywhere.  But it's small and portable and easily lost or stolen.  Not so great.

I don't know about you, but I LOVE my smart phone.  Even when it's hard for me to read the screen I still love it.  This means I want to try and keep it safe... or as safe as I can.  Of course nothing is foolproof, and the older your phone, the less secure you can keep it.  Also, android phones are less secure than iphone 4s or 5 at this time.  (this will change - it always does).  However, locking them down works in just about the same way for both types of phones, so it's in your interest to do this and keep your data as safe as you can.

Before we start anything - back up your phone. Make sure you back it up regularly either to your computer or icloud or whatever. This way if something happens and your phone is gone or data erased, you have got your data and all it needs is a restore.  BACK IT UP religiously.

1.  Set your passcode lock.  Yes I know, it's a royal PITA - I barely leave the house, but I still use a passcode all the time because I won't remember to turn it on when I do go out. 

At least with later OS versions you can take photos without having to unlock it.  You can also make emergency calls or receive calls without unlocking it.  With iOS6 you get locked screen notifications on things too (I assume Android does about the same). 

Most people will use the 4 digit passcode or on the android they might use the "pattern lock". Neither of these is very secure, but might be secure enough if you have the data erase feature enabled.  With the iphone, when you turn off the "simple passcode" you can enter a longer all digit passcode and this will bring up only the numeric keypad to unlock it (just like the simple passcode).  Then you can enter more than 4 digits to unlock the phone which is marginally more secure but still not too difficult to unlock.

Any lock is better than none.  So do lock it. You'll get used to it.

2. Set it to erase data after "X" number of bad attempts.  On iphone X = 10 which is the number of tries before it erases your data.  If you have your phone data backed up, all you have to do is sync it and you'll get your data back, so turn on this feature.  On the iphone this also encrypts your data.  This means someone can't just connect to your phone and copy the data off.

Androids allow you to do this too although the encryption is not as good.  There are apps for the android that will give you better encryption. 

Here are five tips for securing your Android phone.  The article covers the names of various apps you can buy to make your phone more secure.  iphones  already have this built in. 

3.  Enable "find my iphone"!  This is free for iphone users and it works very well. There are 2 ways to do this - enable both! 

First on the phone itself in the settings:
Settings --> icloud  scroll down to "find my iphone" and turn it on. You will have to set up an icloud account, but this can be done directly on the phone.  Once you've enable this, log into your icloud account from your computer and check to be sure it's working.  You can do this from any computer.  Prepare to be amazed at how well it locates your phone.

There's also an app for that (free) for the iphone.  Also called Find My iPhone.

If you misplace your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or Mac, the Find My iPhone app will let you use another iOS device to find it and protect your data. Simply install this free app on another iOS device, open it, and sign in with your Apple ID. Find My iPhone will help you locate your missing device on a map, play a sound, display a message, remotely lock your device, or erase all the data on it.

There is more - go read the rest. If you have more than one idevice get the app.  It's worth it.

For android you can buy an app that will do the same thing. They discuss various options in the article I linked. 

4. Now that you have "Find my iphone" set up, lock it down.  If someone does get your phone and they get into it, they can easily turn off the "find my iphone" feature. Therefore go to:

Settings --> General --> Restrictions

You will have to create a passcode for this section too.  Then scroll to

Location Services  --> Click "don't allow changes"

That will gray out the "Find my iphone" on/off switch in the icloud section. If you want to turn off the restrictions, you have to use the passcode to get into that section. 

I have no idea if something similar is available for Android, you'll have to check around on the device if you have one and see. 

And that should do it.  Following these steps you might be able to keep your phone somewhat protected.  You may at the very least be able to keep the data protected.  Or you may even be able to find it again. 

Good luck.

Posted by: Teresa in WebTech at 12:38 AM | Comments (5) | Add Comment
Post contains 974 words, total size 6 kb.

1 Thank you oh guru

Posted by: patti at January 06, 2013 09:21 AM (Ge36/)

2 You're welcome   Hope it's clearer than mud.  If not, let me know!

Posted by: Teresa at January 06, 2013 12:58 PM (hJwgq)

3 Thank you! 

Posted by: Pam at January 07, 2013 08:04 PM (VZULe)

4 Find my iPhone?  I need one for find my car keys.  Or find my check book.

Posted by: Bou at January 07, 2013 10:39 PM (SJrJ4)

5 Until someone takes your phone Bou. LOL.

Posted by: Teresa at January 07, 2013 11:12 PM (hJwgq)

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