Simple Steps to Protect Your Phone’s Data

Smartphones are everywhere. While they’ve technically been around since the early ‘90s, smartphones blew up in popularity over the last 15 years. Now, just about every adult has one in their pocket at any given time, and children around the world are getting their hands on their own phones earlier.

This grants greater accessibility for communities everywhere, but this also comes with some serious data security concerns. These phones are trackable through location data and other personal information stored there. Smartphones are one of the most common targets for hackers because of all the precious identifying and financial information they can use. On top of that, companies will pay top dollar to get their hands on your precious phone data to better advertise to you and the world around you.

This can make you feel vulnerable and like nothing is truly “personal” anymore. That’s a growing reality for many, but these simple steps can help you mitigate that risk and that feeling. We won’t cover password protection here because we covered that last month.

Turn off location services

This is one of the most obvious steps, but it’s worth addressing. You don’t actually need to use your phone’s location services. Sure, there are tons of features that rely on you being willing to just hand your location over to just about anyone but these features are ancillary and aren’t required for you to benefit from the smartphone experience.

You can actually still use maps and other similar apps without your location, you’ll just have to track your route more closely than you would if the app was tracking your every move for you. There are certain features on maps and other apps that won’t work optimally without access to your whereabouts but it’s possible to work around this.

Update apps and operating systems

You might see you have 10+ apps to update every other day and think nothing of it, but it’s actually important to continue updating everything on your phone. Most of the app update descriptions will say “general bug fixes and improvements” and this is perfectly accurate.

Hackers and companies are always trying to find bugs to exploit on our phones and the apps on them. When the company behind the app locates them, they will update the app to patch the bug and protect you from nefarious individuals. Unfortunately, if you don’t update your app then the bug is likely still present and could be exploited if you’re not careful. The same is true for your phone’s operating system.

Use a private web browser

Our phones are nearly identical to many laptops (and actually have more computing power than some laptops currently on the market). This means the web browser on your phone should have the same capabilities as a web browser on an actual personal computer or laptop.

There are reasons to use a regular browser so you can have the convenience of saved passwords, website history, and more, but protecting your data may mean exclusively using private browsers. We won’t advocate for any one browser, but it’s important to research how much data is still stored in private browsers (hint: they still collect some data).

A private browser, however, will generally not take nearly as much data as one that isn’t private and your passwords, history, and other information will remain private.

Limit app permissions

Popups haven’t gone away, they’ve just evolved. Nowadays when you open an app you may be confronted with several popups asking for your permission to access certain aspects of your phone. If you want the utmost protection and privacy then you should deny or limit these requests.

Apps may request to access your camera, microphone, location, and track your data. There are perks to allowing these as it will “optimize your experience” as a user, but it can expose you to risk as a person. The more places your data is accessed the more points hackers have to target that data.

Ultimately, there are certain circumstances we can’t prevent hackers from taking advantage of. Modern society is based on technology and there’s going to be some level of exposure no matter what we do. At Stolen Asset Recovery Network, we believe people should be able to live without fear that their personal information is going to be stolen. If you’ve been the victim of a hack, contact a member of our network today.

The following two tabs change content below.


STARNet, which is short for Stolen Asset Recovery Network, is a global alliance of independent law firms created to provide financial institutions and governments with multi-disciplinary services across countries and jurisdictions for locating, freezing, and ultimately recovering stolen assets related to cyber heists, fraud or corruption.

Latest posts by STARnet (see all)