From work emails and banking details to photos and messages, our smartphones are packed with the types of personal data that cyber criminals target. Yet many of us don't even have security software installed on our smartphones, which makes us vulnerable to a range of security risks.
With this in mind, we've devoted a section of our website to the growing threat of online scams and how you can protect yourself. It's called Beat The Scammers, but before you check it out, here's a guide to some of the big risks to be aware of online and simple ways to stay one step ahead.
No matter what make or model your smartphone is, there are ways for people to take advantage. If you follow our advice you should be fine, but here are a few of the most common threats to be aware of.
What are the risks?
Compromised links in unfamiliar websites and emails can send you to sites infected with viruses and types of malicious software (malware) that let criminals steal personal data and more.
Apps from unofficial app stores are often infected with malware, and can even lock your phone until you pay a ransom to release it.
We all enjoy using free Wi-Fi in cafés and other public places, but untrusted networks sometimes track what you're doing or even steal your login details.
The good news is there are plenty of ways to reduce online risks – and you don't need to be an expert in cyber security.
8 simple ways to protect yourself
Whether you're browsing the web or opening an email, never open links from sources you don't know and trust.
1. Be careful what you click on
Google Play, Microsoft Store and iPhone's App Store take security seriously and are a far safer option than unknown stores.
2. Only use official app stores
If you're worried that an app is asking for too much access, like a photo-editing app asking for your messaging history, use alternative software.
3. Think twice about permission requests
Try to avoid using free Wi-Fi for sensitive stuff like online banking. If you're at a trusted hotel or restaurant you should be okay, but it's always better to be safe than sorry.
4. Take care when using free Wi-Fi
Always lock your screen and protect it with a password. So if your smartphone gets stolen, it's much harder for the thieves to access your data.
5. Keep your screen locked
Jailbreaking and rooting are ways of bypassing restrictions placed on your smartphone by manufacturers. For example, if you want to use third-party software on your iPhone that isn't approved by Apple, you'd have to jailbreak it. The tradeoff is that you void your warranty and seriously compromise security. Don't do it.
6. Don't jailbreak or root your device
Just like your laptop or PC, your smartphone needs antivirus and online banking protection. And as a TalkTalk customer, you get award-winning security software included for free in your Broadband package. Simply turn it on in My Account and follow the simple instructions in the email that follows.
7. Install your free SuperSafe Boost software
If you follow our tips and protect your device with the SuperSafe Boost, you can enjoy your smartphone worry-free. A little bit of effort really does go a long way.