How to Protect Your Smartphones and Tablets

Your smart device stores a lot of personal information about you. We've got the tips to help safeguard your information.

By Navy Federal April 10, 2018

Your smartphone, tablet and computer store a lot of personal information about you. Add web browsing, apps and financial transactions to the mix, and a world of potential security risks opens up. We've got the tips to help safeguard your information.

Lock Down Your Device

The easiest way to start protecting your information is to lock your smart device with a PIN or password that’s at least six characters long. Some devices also allow fingerprint or face scanning locks. Any of these methods can prevent others from accessing contact lists, stored login information and more. You'll want to set the “lock time” on your device to be short—preferably 30 seconds or less. Also, many devices now support anti-virus software, so check with your service provider to find out if it’s available for you.

Check Your Browser’s Security

Before you submit any personal information, you’ll want to make sure you’ve taken a few precautions. Check for a padlock symbol and “https” in your browser’s address bar. The “s,” which stands for “secure,” and the padlock let you know that your browser will encrypt any personal information you submit online. Hold off on making financial transactions or using any websites that require a login and password until you know you’re on a secure connection.

Keep Your System and Software Updated

Those pop-up messages telling you to update your phone can be annoying, but by agreeing to update, you’re significantly beefing up the security of your device. New versions of operating systems usually patch security flaws that were found in older versions. Hackers can exploit those security flaws if you ignore updates. The same goes for app updates. Many updates address flaws or bugs that could put your information at risk if they aren’t downloaded and installed.

Take Caution When Installing Apps

Before downloading and installing an app, make sure you have a credible, official version of the app you want (and that you only download it from the official App StoreSM or Google PlayTM Store). Phony apps may appear to be credible but may contain viruses that pose a risk to your device. And, before you agree to download an app, take note of what types of information it can access (e.g., your contact list, location, browsing history).

Think Before You Click or Tap

When it comes to receiving texts, emails and other messages, take caution before responding. Scammers have made their way into the mobile world, hoping to gain any personal information they can. To help prevent your information from being stolen, always think before you click, tap or respond! For more tips and tools on how to protect your information, visit the Navy Federal Security Center.

App StoreSM is a service mark of Apple, Inc. Google PlayTM is a trademark of Google LLC.

This article is intended to provide general information and shouldn't be considered legal, tax or financial advice. It's always a good idea to consult a tax or financial advisor for specific information on how certain laws apply to your situation and about your individual financial situation.