You are in the beginning of a series of security and protection newsletters on the technology that matters to you. Every week I'll focus in on one aspect of technology and talk about how to protect it and prepare for the worst.
This week I'll be starting with security for your mobile devices(phones and tablets). Just 5 years ago if you had a blackberry then you were on the cutting edge of mobile technology. Now there are no shortage of smartphones and now tablets. As I go through and list off how to protect your stuff not only will I try to give instructions on how to do it but I'll also try to include instructions for android and apple.
Use a passcode
I know. You're sick of PIN numbers and passwords. But they work. And if you leave your phone or tablet somewhere, and someone finds it who wants to see what they can get off of it before they turn it into the lost and found then you could be in trouble. All smartphones and tablets have the ability to require a 4 digit code or password before it will let you use the phone. That way any passerby or thief can't easily get access to your life. Here are apples instructions for password protecting your iPad and iPhone. All androids have subtly different steps to do this. But if you google your phone and put "password protect" at the end of it you'll find plenty of articles to help you out.
Be careful where you download apps
If you're an iPhone or iPad user you don't have to worry about this unless you rooted your phone. Apple is very strict about the apps that are allowed on their App Store. If you're an android user you have the option to install apps from 3rd party sites. Any app you download from the Google play store should be safe, but there's a myriad of 3rd party sources you can go to get an app. Just keep in mind that with apps if it's too good to be true then it probably is. If that app cost $5 on the Google play store and it's free on this Russian site then there's your red flag(no pun intended...kinda).
Be sure one of your apps is security software
Avg and Malwarebytes both make great apps that will scan your device for virus' that can hide in apps, texts and email attachments. And they're free.
Have a backup just in case
So far all of these have been preventative ideas. But sometimes things just happen. And that's when it's helpful to have a backup so you don't lose your stuff. Apple makes this real easy with iCloud. As long as your iCloud is logged in and set up on that device it will do a full device backup whenever it's plugged in, on wifi and the screen is turned off. Apple gives instructions on how to backup and restore from iCloud here. Android users have some options for how they want to do this. This PCMag article does a good job of laying those options out there.
I hope you found something useful here. That's the whole point after all. Feel free to forward this to anyone you think would enjoy this. Also feel free to reply if you're confused about something I talked about or have an idea for a topic I should do in one of the coming weeks.