Knowing how to keep your smartphone clean is important anytime, but it might seem especially urgent now, due to COVID-19. Scientists have actually found that smartphones carry 10 times more bacteria than most toilet seats, writes Samantha Edwards.
For most of us, our smartphones have essentially become an extension of our hands, so you’ll need to clean it regularly. This good hygiene also extends to the software inside your phone.
Clean software helps protect your data. Antivirus software and regular program updates all help to keep viruses, malware, and cybercriminals away from your smartphone.
Here are five steps you can take to help keep your cell phone’s hardware and software clean.
Step 1. To disinfect the exterior surfaces of your iPhone, Apple recommends gently wiping it with a 70 percent isopropyl alcohol wipe or other type of disinfecting wipes. It’s also important to keep your smartphone cover clean. Phone covers are the first and last thing you touch when using your phone. Use the recommended cleaning solutions for your phone cover.
Mobile devices are often a target for malware, which can infect mobile devices. That might occur via a compromised app, phishing email, or SMS text message. Common types of mobile malware include ransomware, trojans, and spyware.
With so many people working remotely, keeping your software clean and secure could also mean keeping your employers’ data safe. If you have an iPhone or Android device, there are several ways you can help keep your operating system and data clean and secure.
Step 2. Back up your data There are at two good reasons to consider backing up your data and files on your personal device with cloud-based storage. One, you can free up space on your phone, which could boost speed. Two, you’ll have your data saved in a safe place if your phone is lost or stolen or malware harms your data.
Step 3. Clean up your contacts Your contact list probably has grown over the years. Do you still need all of those contacts on your phone? Probably not. Consider deleting contacts that are no longer relevant.
Step 4. Polish your passwords Setting strong passwords and changing them regularly can help keep cybercriminals away.
A password manager can help you manage your passwords. Many password managers will help you create strong, complex, and unique passwords. All of your unique passwords are then captured and protected in a vault by one master password or your fingerprint. Password managers organize passwords for all of your accounts and applications to keep them safe from hackers.
Step 5. Update your software regularly Good device hygiene includes regularly updating your apps and operating system to fix any software vulnerabilities. A software vulnerability is a security hole, or weakness, in an operating system or software program. Hackers can exploit these weaknesses by writing code to target a specific vulnerability.
Set up automatic updates to ensure updates are made.
How to check if automatic updates are turned on: Go to Settings > General > Software Update and turn on automatic updates.
This pandemic may have you thinking about cleaning your smartphone more than what you did in the past. Keeping your cell phone clean on the outside and inside is important, as it will help keep yourself, your data, and your device safe from all kinds of viruses.
By Samantha Edwards from NortonLifeLock
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© INTERFACE Magazine, June 2020