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Mobile security: how to stay safe online

Padlock sitting on phone screen

Some smartphones are so sophisticated it’s like having a little computer in your pocket, perfect if you like to email, shop or browse social media on-the-go. Yet, with all that power comes responsibility and in a world where scams and security hacks are prevalent, it’s up to you to keep your personal details safe.

You’re vigilant to scams on your home computer, so why wouldn’t you be the same on your mobile phone? To help, we’ve put together some top tips on how to stay safe online, wherever you are.

Always set your phone’s password

Every time you get a new phone you’ll be given the option to set a password – take it! It may mean a second or two of inconvenience for you, but being password protected ensures that you never have to worry about someone picking up your phone and diving straight into your emails, contact list or browser history. If your phone has Touch ID, great – be sure to take advantage of it for guaranteed mobile security.

Touch ID

Don’t use the same password for all of your online accounts

Using the same password for everything might seem like a useful way to make sure you never forget your details, but it’s a big no-no when it comes to staying safe online. If one account is compromised, for example your email or favourite social network, a criminal might then have access to everything else you’ve signed up for – and if you’ve used the same sign in details everywhere, they’ll have no trouble getting into those too.

Create unique usernames and passwords online

Once you get online, the need for strong and unique passwords becomes even more imperative. Think about it, how many people have physical access to your mobile each day? A hundred at the most? Online, however, your information could be exposed to thousands of untrustworthy types. This means you need to make an effort when it comes to the safety measures websites provide you with. The best way to stay safe online is to take the time to set a decent password for any site that holds personal information.

How to choose good passwords?

For a little help in finding the perfect, hard to crack password to ensure mobile security, you can find some help from sites like Random.org and New Password Generator. All you need to do is tell them what kind of password you need and they’ll conjure one up for you – ideal if you tend to stick to the same few combinations of letters and digits and are in need of some authentication inspiration.

Online banking using mobile

Try Two Factor Authentication

To keep yourself safe online from internet fraud and other problems, you can also implement Two Factor Authentication (also called Two Step Authentication). This, most simply, just adds another layer of security by asking you for another proof of ID in addition to your username and password. This second round of authentication is often something that you will have on you physically and can range from a token or card to a text message with a code sent to your phone or email address.

Is it easy to set up Two Factor Authentication?

It’s possible to set this up on a wide range of popular platforms, including Apple ID, Google, Facebook, Evernote and many more. Check the settings section on each of your favourite programmes and click Enable > Get Security Key or Set Up as advised. You’ll then be guided through a set up process that specifies exactly what your second layer of protection will be.

For more advice on keeping your smartphone safe, check out our other mobile security post on the importance of software updates at Tesco Mobile’s Hub.