What to do if your phone is stolen?
The cell phone practically saves our lives – photos, access to emails, social networks, everything. And our handsets have a variety of security features – the phone is generally safer than the computer, inclusive. But you need to know these features, understand why they exist and set them right.
Check out below 9 essential tips to keep your phone data safe.
1. Set up a lock method
There is no way to protect a cell phone that does not have a lock password. This is the first step, and it is essential.
Modern cell phones provide many options for the locking mechanism: password, pattern design, digital recognition, facial recognition and iris recognition, depending on the model.
The safest method is still the good old password, as long as you set up a good password (do not even think about using dates or very obvious number sequences like 123456 or 11223344). Drawing a “pattern” is also safe as long as you take care (the pattern is easier to be guessed from a distance by an observer).
Digital, easy recognition and iris are convenience options. Of these three, digital is the safest option because it is the most difficult to extract. There are cases where easy recognition and irises have been defeated with a photo .
2. Encrypt the cell phone
The lock password is what prevents the use of the cell phone, but what really puts this protection in practice for your data is the encryption of the device.
Many phones are already coming with factory-enabled encryption, but some models require it to be turned on in security settings. Older devices will not have this option, and it is recommended that you stay tuned to get an encrypted phone on your next purchase.
3. Caution when using memory cards
When you encrypt the device, the memory card is not encrypted. This is a risk, because if your cell phone is stolen, just take out the memory card and read what’s there. This may end up allowing personal photos and videos to leak, as this type of file often stays on the card.
To ensure that the memory card is also encrypted, you need to format the card as “Internal Storage” on Android. If your card appears as “portable storage” in the storage pane, it will not be encrypted.
Remember that an encrypted card can not be read on any other device. If you want to keep your card readable on other phones or on your computer, keep it as portable storage and do not store private data on the card. You can even use it for music, movies and digital books.
4. Only install applications
from the official store The iPhone does not even officially allow you to install applications outside the iTunes App Store. Android gives this option, but overall it’s a bad idea.
Android has far more problems with viruses than Apple devices, but while some of the cases are found on Google Play, most of the more serious cases involve apps sent to “alternative” stores. These stores are searched for by offering pirated apps or that are not available in the user’s region. Although they are not necessarily malicious, they do not take the same rigor as Google in filtering apps. This is why many fake and contaminated apps end up appearing in these stores.
5. Beware of application permissions
When you install an application on Android, it asks for some permissions. There are two screens that you need to be very careful about:
– Administrative Permission
– Screen Overlay
Administrative permission can make the application difficult to remove or control. The screen overlay allows the application to be “on top” of other applications, which makes it possible to steal passwords, for example. Imagine that you are accessing your bank application and an overlay app detects this to create a fake screen over the bank app. This is the risk you run.
To view the list of apps that have these permissions, you must have a phone running Android 6.0 or later. Go to Settings> Applications> Advanced [gear] > Special Access (at the bottom of the screen). In the list, you’ll see apps that have “Device Administrators” and “Override other apps” permissions.
Beyond these two permissions, be very careful when installing alternative keyboards.
6. What to do if the phone is stolen?
If your cell phone is stolen, you need to do two things – probably in that order.
The first is to locate and / or delete device data remotely. If you use an iPhone, you should do it through iCloud. In the case of Android, it’s through your Google account. This step is of the utmost importance if your phone is not encrypted.
The second step is to call the carrier and report the theft. There is an integrated system in Brazil so that the stolen cell phone is blocked at all carriers. If you lock your phone before giving the command to erase the data, you may not be able to contact your phone any more. So erase the data first.
7. Beware of fake messages
A message that comes from a friend of yours on WhatsApp, or even an SMS that says come from your bank – including your name. It is convincing, but it can be fraud.
Many scams circulating through WhatsApp, for example, try to persuade victims to forward a message to their contacts. The bait is a promotion, a special application or whatever. So these messages can end up coming to you from other friends who fell in the coup or, at worst, who had their number cloned.
8. Is it necessary to install antivirus?
There is no antivirus for iPhone intended for consumers and in the case of Android, an antivirus is dispensable. Although it is a very relevant program in computer security, mobile phones are a very different scenario because you already have the official system store filter, for example.
Some antivirus software, however, can offer additional features such as battery optimization, application data cleaning to reduce the space used. These features may warrant use of the program. If you absolutely need to install applications outside of Google Play, then an antivirus might also be interesting.
9. Set up a backup
In addition to being stolen, your phone may stop working at any time. So make sure to set up a cloud sync for data like photos and videos. You can use iCloud (on iPhone) and Google Drive (Android), as well as third-party solutions such as OneDrive (Microsoft) or Dropbox. The important thing is that you set up data synchronization.
If you use encryption on your device, recovering data from a damaged phone can be difficult and expensive, if not impossible. So data synchronization with the cloud is an important complement to keeping your data accessible in all kinds of setbacks.