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Basic Phone Security: What to do to Secure your Android Phone

There was a time when losing your mobile phone meant losing all your contacts, messages, personal pictures and documents.  Today though, with smartphones storing personal items on the cloud, losing contacts is not as damaging as it used to be.  At times the phone can be damaged but one of the biggest loses your phone could suffer is getting stolen.  Whether you forget it at the coffee shop or someone pinched it from your pocket, when someone has your phone, it can be one of the saddest times ever.  I have a few ideas though that you will find beneficial in securing your phone and protect your data in case you lose it or it gets stolen.  Safety first.

Security starts with the basics

Your Android phones come with a number of security tools that help you secure your phone from unauthorized access.  You cannot go for ‘advanced’ security if you haven’t enabled these basic security measures yet.  They include:

 

SIM lock

SIM lock is basically a layer of protection that keeps your messages and contacts safely behind a PIN.  When you enable SIM PIN protection, your phone will ask you to enter your PIN code every time your phone starts.  This protection is one of the most effective ways to safeguard your personal data and to prevent anyone from using up your air time, data or message credits.

SIM PIN Lock

To enable SIM PIN, navigate to Settings> Security > SIM Card Lock and then Set Up SIM Card Lock.  Check the ‘Lock SIM Card’ option and the phone will ask you for the default SIM PIN.  This is often provided by the carrier or network operator.  Note that you only have 3 chances to get the PIN right – three wrongs and the SIM will lock and you will need to unlock with a PUK (Pin Unlock Code).

Screen Lock

A screen lock is a security feature that will prevent someone from gaining access into the phone.  Android offers a number of screen security options including the most popular ‘Pattern Lock’ and ‘Password Lock’.

Android Pattern Lock

To enable Screen Lock, navigate to Settings> Security > Screen Lock.  If you have a custom OEM, the path may be different but the options are pretty much the same.  You will see options including None (disabled), Slide, Pattern, Face Unlock, Pattern, PIN, and Password

 

Encrypt your data

Fortify your phone further by encrypting the data on your removable memory card.  This feature is however dependent on the OEM installed on your phone.  When setting up encryption, you will need to set a password to decrypt it every time you power your device on.  Note that encrypting the data on your card is not reversible.  To undo the encryption, you may need to factory reset your phone.

Encrypt Phone

To encrypt your phone’s data, go to Settings > Security > Encrypt Phone.

 

Protect yourself, protect your data.  Stay safe, enable these basic security features on your Android phone.