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The media is increasingly full of articles about celebrities who have had their phones hacked. There’s nothing more embarrassing than having your personal life made publicly available, and if you bank via your phone, the consequences of being hacked go way beyond mere embarrassment. So how can you protect your smartphone from hackers?

There are three important steps. The first concerns your mindset. Accept that there are people out there who want access to your phone, so think protectively. Use a password and make sure that you never share this password with anyone, even people that you trust. Remove sensitive data from your phone regularly and always create a backup of anything important. Think about how you use your phone – do you need to bank or transfer personal data via your phone? If you do receive confidential information, delete it as soon as you’ve backed it up.

The next step is to make sure that your password is strong. Password protect your voicemail and don’t rely on the one which came with the phone. If you’ve lost it or don’t know how to change it, call your service provider or phone retailer to ask for help. Avoid obvious passwords like birthdays or anniversaries. Instead, create sequences using both upper and lower case letters, interspersed with numbers. The more complex the sequence, the stronger your password. And whatever you do, don’t use the same password for multiple devices and change it regularly.

Finally, if you have Bluetooth, make sure you have disabled the ‘Discoverable’ mode, as this allows your phone to be detected by a scanner. Check out the specific security software available to your smartphone model and be aware of the function of malware apps. It’s worth finding out if you can install an app that gives you remote control of your phone, so that if the worst happens and your phone is stolen, you can simply wipe all the data.