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Media > Newsletters > Consumer Advocate > October 2018 > Protect Your Apps: How to Make Your Smartphone More Secure

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Protect Your Apps: How to Make Your Smartphone More Secure


Your smartphone holds your favorite pictures, videos, and apps, but it also contains some of your most personal information. Hackers know this. During October’s National Cybersecurity Awareness Month, learn several tips to make your smartphone more secure.

Consumers tend to overlook the fact that smartphones are miniature computers and are vulnerable to cyberattacks just like our home computers. On a phone, malware could expose your call logs, contacts, and usernames/passwords or could generate outbound calls and texts without your permission.

However, there are several simple ways to help protect you and your smart phone from cybercriminals:

  • Lock your phone.  This can be done by setting a PIN, pattern, or passcode in order to keep people from physically accessing your phone.  While locking your phone won’t protect you from online threats, it will keep your personal information safe if you lose your phone.

  • Limit the sites you visit while on unsecured Wi-Fi networks. Hackers can monitor your activities when you’re using unsecured Wi-Fi networks.  Turn off the automatic Wi-Fi connection feature on your phone, and don’t visit sensitive websites - like your bank – or enter payment card information while connected to public Wi-Fi.

  • Disable your device’s Bluetooth capabilities.  When in public, disable your phone’s Bluetooth capabilities.  Bluetooth allows your phone to connect wirelessly with other electronic devices. Bluetooth could allow hackers to connect to your phone without your permission and put your personal information at risk.

  • Always verify apps before downloading.  When downloading apps, always use a legitimate app store such as Google Play or the App Store. Even then, malicious apps sometimes slip through the cracks.  Before you download, look for too-good-to-be-true promises, bad or excessively positive reviews, and vague app permissions.

  • Use an antivirus app.  App stores are home to hundreds of antivirus programs.  The National Cyber Security Alliance hosts where users can find a free “online security checkups and tools” section with antivirus suggestions.

  • Keep your phone operating system and all apps updated.  App makers and smartphone manufacturers are constantly putting together updates that help make your device more secure.  Make sure your app and phone settings permit automatic security updates.

  • Before clicking, verify links found in text messages, multimedia messages, or emails.  Even if the message or email seems legitimate, always go directly to the website by specifically entering the web address into your internet browser.  Never click on unknown links because they may contain malware.

Consumers who suspect a scam or an unfair business practice should contact the Ohio Attorney General’s Office at  or 800-282-0515.