Financial information

Lock your phone against snoopers and hackers


(Photo Pixabay)

Your phone is full of secrets, whether you think of it that way or not. Would you like anyone to be able to see your private conversations, browse your photos, or open your emails? Of course not.

There are also digital spies to worry about. Tap or click to see which apps are accessing your camera or microphone.

In a few minutes, you can set up your phone securely.

1. Do both steps

If you haven’t yet turned on two-factor authentication, give it a try.

This adds another layer of security to your connections by requiring more than your password. These codes almost always come via text or email, although you can get 2FA codes through an app instead. Tap or click for the steps to set up Google Authenticator.

Here’s how to activate this essential security on your phone:

2FA for iPhone (Apple ID)

● Go to Settings> [your name] > Password & security and tap Enable two-factor authentication.

● Touch Continue, then enter the phone number where you want to receive verification codes.

● Tap Next and enter the code.

2FA for Android (Google)

● Open your Google account and select Security.

● Select Two-step verification (under Sign in to Google), then Start.

● Now choose a verification method: Google prompts, security keys, Google Authenticator or similar apps, or a verification code sent to your phone by text or call.

2. Verification is necessary, but make it easier for yourself

Two-factor authentication is a good security measure, but some people don’t enable it because they don’t want to deal with the extra steps involved. Autofill options make it easier to use 2FA when signing in to a new device or account.

When you sign in to a new app or site with your 2FA enabled iPhone, you no longer need to open the Messages app to get the passcode. Instead, the code will appear on your keyboard and you can tap it to automatically fill in the security field.

This feature is built into iOS 12 and later and does not need to be enabled. Convenient! Tap or click here for more iPhone security tips.

For Android, open Settings and find Autofill. Tap the service you want to activate. Now open the settings again and go to Google> Autofill verification code and set the slider to On. When using an app that supports it, tap Autofill to fill in the security field.

3. Get notified if hackers have your passwords

How do you know if a password is good or if it has been compromised? If you rely on the one you’ve been using for years, there’s a good chance it will float in a data dump. Tap or click here for a quick check of your email address and passwords for recent violations.

Your phone also has built-in assistants.

On an iPhone, Safari stores your passwords in Keychain, accessible from your iOS device or iCloud. Your passwords are checked against a list of broken passwords, letting you know if you have been compromised. Good news: this option is enabled by default with iOS 14.

Go to Safari> Preferences> Passwords and look under Security recommendations to see if any of your passwords have been compromised. If so, you will be prompted to update your password with a stronger password.

Chrome’s password checking feature is built into the password manager. You can use it on your Android. To check for compromised or weak passwords, go to Select Verify Password> Verify Passwords.

4. Configure a stronger backup

Hope you regularly back up your phone. Ideally, you’ll never need to use your backups, but it’s good to know they’re there if you lose your phone or if it won’t turn on.

Encrypted iPhone backups contain information that you won’t find in routine backups, including saved passwords, health data, Wi-Fi settings, call history, and website history.

● On Mac with macOS Catalina 10.15 or later, open Finder. Open iTunes if you’re using a Mac with macOS Mojave 10.14 or earlier or a PC.

● Connect your iPhone to the computer and locate it.

● Under the General or Summary tab, find Backups. Select Encrypt local backup.

● Create a strong password. Save it in a password manager if you use one.

● Confirm your password. This new backup will overwrite and encrypt your previous backups.

Good news, Android users. If you are using Android 9 Pie or later, encryption is enabled by default. You can turn it off in settings, but there’s really no point in doing it.

5. Hide your daring and sensitive photos

We all have photos that we don’t want everyone to see. Yes, I know what comes to mind, but what about snapshots that display financial information, your ID cards, or sensitive business details? You can hide them in your main gallery.

Know that anyone with enough technological intelligence will know how to search for hidden files. However, it will take some time for them to access your hidden photos.

On an iPhone:

● Open Photos and select the photo or video you want to hide.

● Tap the Share button, then tap Hide to move them to the hidden folder. You can find the hidden folder under Utilities in the Photos app.

● Hide the Hidden folder by opening Settings> Photos. Scroll down and turn off the hidden album. Now it will no longer appear under Utilities. Tap or click here for more hidden iPhone features.

On Android:

● Open Google Photos on your phone and tap to select the images you want to hide.

● Tap the three-dot menu in the top right corner, and then tap Move to archive. This moves your photos out of the main album.

● To access the archive, tap Library and then tap Archive.

Android also has a handy feature called Guest Mode, which you can use to restrict access to your information. When activated, your contacts, messages, photos and notifications are hidden. Tap or click here to learn how to set it up before you need it.

What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on your local radio station. You can listen or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, TV or computer. Or tap or click here for Kim’s free podcasts.


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