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This is a guest post from London-based Lily Sommers of Techie Doodlers.

As our smartphones and tablets become our daily companions (accessing social media and purchasing online), almost all our transactions and activities are logged to these handy devices. These digital footprints, even those soft files saved on your handset’s storage, are prone to theft and malicious attacks. Here are ten effective tips and techniques to keep your mobile files safe and secured.

1. Sign Out From All Accounts

The most common, yet the least followed advice is to sign out from all your accounts once done with your online business. Sure, it is convenient to easily tap the app icon and your profiles will pop up automatically; however, leaving them online can be dangerous, especially if your device gets stolen. Do not save your username and passwords as well.

2. Phone Locator Apps

It will be essential to have a phone locator application to easily find your device, or at least remotely access the device from your PC. Available for almost all platforms, the Prey Anti Theft app allows you to view the current location of your handset through its map system. You can also remotely take pictures using the front and back cameras, trigger an alarm, display a message on the screen, and view network info where it has been connected.

3. Download Apps For Trusted Sources

This can be done by checking these three items: the store, the reviews and ratings, and the privacy policy. Always find time to research about online reviews of the app and its publishers. For Android users, Intel’s ‘Quick Tips To Mobile Security’ said “avoid installing non-market applications by de-selecting the ‘unknown sources’ option in your device’s Applications Settings menu.”

4. Search Built-in Backup System

This can be ensured by looking for handsets that come with built-in cloud storage that stores your files automatically. The new iPhones, for example, backup your files to the iCloud which you can access to other Apple devices. O2 noted on their iPhone 5c page that it has the ability to store documents, media files, calendars, contacts and more; which you can share and access from all your iDevices including your Mac laptop and PC using your Apple ID.

5. Be Careful Of Free Connections

Connecting to free Wi-Fis in the area can lead to a possible data theft. It’s best to only connect to free Wi-Fis from your known establishment. It would also be beneficial to avoid doing any banking or shopping transactions using public internet, as these can lead to potential stealing of private information such as credit card numbers.

6. Secure your data connection

Since newer handsets have the ability to be a portable internet hotspot, this feature can also be a cause for possible phone hack. Always turn on the password option. It will also be better to turn it off when not in use.

7. Turn Off Connections When Not In Use

These connections pertain to Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, which can be an avenue to access your phone’s data. It’s best to stick to your 3G or 4G mobile connection as most network providers encrypt data traffic between their towers and your handset. Bluetooth must be turned off when not in use and must be protected with a password.

8. Update Your Software

Do not be afraid of system update as these can be your greatest weapon against hackers and potential viruses and malware. A 2013 YouTube video from e-Cycle Mobile Phone Buyback &Recycling said “mobile software updates are often released to patch discovered security risks.” This also implies getting a mobile antivirus application which you need to run and update all the time for maximum security.

9. Do Not Hack Your Own Device

If you don’t want others to hack the files on your gadget, then don’t give them a way to easily access it. Simple, really. However, some go beyond just updating their software, but actually hack their own device by jailbreaking or rooting the handset. This process turns off encrypted security features of your phone, making your phone open for possible hacking.

10. Wipe All Data Before Passing

If you finally decide to give up your phone someday to a relative, a friend, or for recycling, make sure that you’ve completely wiped out all of your digital footprints on it. Check the messaging Inbox, contact list, dialed numbers, media folder for photos/videos, and notepad for a list of passwords (if any) – make sure they’re all deleted.

These are ten techniques on how to avoid experiencing mobile data security breach. Remember that your smart devices are now a connection of your self – take extra care of it to prevent any problems.

After getting her hands on her new iPhone 5s that she has saved up for months, Lily Sommers knows that she needs to take extra care of it. She maximizes the use of the Touch ID in unlocking the device as well as purchasing in-apps online. 

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