Jun 22, 2016

Keeping Your Phone Safe

If there is one piece of property that you would want to save from a fire today it would probably be your computer. It is a treasure trove of memories and important documents and it is one of your major gateways into the greater world.

Now imagine that power in your pocket. Imagine still that you leave it at the restaurant you were just at or the cab you were just in. What do you do now? Hopefully you have security enabled because nearly everything your computer contains, your smartphone does too.

Why You Should Secure Your Phone

Your phone is arguably more valuable than your wallet. If your wallet is lost or stolen, you might lose a bit of cash, have to cancel your credit cards and get a new license. A smartphone can hold all this information and more if you haven’t done your due diligence to secure it. With wallet-less payments like Apple Pay becoming more popular, a thief doesn’t even need your wallet. This information along with access to your email and other electronic services means that you could come under identity theft in the future. With the rise of wearable technology and better sensors, your phone has some degree of access to your health information as well.

The Lock Screen

The lock screen is the first line of defense to keeping your smartphone information private. Just like you wouldn’t leave your car or house door open, don't forget to lock your phone.

Pins and Patterns

These are the easiest to remember and use, but they are also the least secure. This mainly comes down to a numbers game. A four digit PIN has 10,000 combinations while a five digit one has 100,000 options. The longer the pin or pattern, the more guesses it would take to get through it by brute force. Thankfully there are software features that limit this possibility by having penalties for getting a wrong answer. Longer time between guesses and a delay in how quickly numbers can be entered are among the typical penalties.

These are still relatively safe for the average user, just never commit the cardinal sin of passwords. Birthdays and important dates, names of friends and pets and a password and 12345 are always on the weakest passwords list, so never use them.


Encrypting your data protects you from a better than average thief. Encryption scrambles the information on the phone in such a way as to make it unreadable unless the correct password is entered.

While no form of security is perfect, an encrypted phone can give you enough time to locate your phone if you leave it somewhere or to perform a remote wipe to completely destroy any important information before it can be broken into. It used to be that encryption was not turned on by default when you got a new phone. That is increasingly not the case because of the current political climate. This was because older phones were not as powerful as they are now and turning on encryption had a tendency to slow down the performance. But today, phones like the Galaxy Note5 have more than enough speed to keep full encryption without a noticeable dip in speed and performance.

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