Our smart phones are undeniably useful tools that have allowed us to work more efficiently, stay in better contact with loved ones, and make our everyday lives easier.

Below, we cover four simple tips for keeping your phone secured and your personal data safe in the event your phone is lost or stolen.

Lock your phone with biometrics or a simple password.

Locking your phone with a password or biometric option (facial recognition or thumb print) is a good first line of defense against someone accessing your phone if it’s lost or stolen.  Our phones can contain personal data ranging from saved credit card numbers to website and account passwords.

Enabling your phone to lock when not in use is simple and can be done from your settings.  Typically, you will set up a short 4-digit PIN number as your password.  Also, new smartphones can enable facial recognition to unlock the phone just by looking at it, which makes unlocking your phone seamless and fast.

Enable two-factor authentication for apps and accounts.

Two-factor authentication helps keep your data safe by utilizing a second method of identifying you when you log into a website or app.  For instance, if you enable this on one of your apps, you may receive a text message or email with a code that you need to enter in order to log in after you type in your password.  The purpose of two-factor authentication is that even if someone has your password, they will need access to another platform (your phone or email) to sign in.

Websites and apps will have this as an option in their settings, and often will give you a choice of where an authentication message will be sent.  Keep in mind, if you authenticate through text, and someone has access to your phone, they will receive the authentication code.  For this reason, it may be wise to authenticate through email.

Don’t use the same password for all your apps and accounts.

Using the same password for all your apps and accounts leaves you vulnerable if your password is compromised.  This is especially important if you’re using two-factor authentication.  By using multiple passwords, your data is more secure, and your accounts are safer.

Keep your phone’s software up to date.

Keeping your phone’s operating system up to date, as well as your apps, ensures you have the latest security software on your device.  As companies become aware of work arounds or flaws that criminals can leverage, they update the software to fix any issues.  Keeping your phone and apps updated with the latest versions can help keep criminals out.

The tips above are a few simple ways you can help to keep your data and phone secure.  As always, don’t click any links when you don’t know the sender, and don’t give your password to anyone.

At Bank of Southern California, we take our clients security seriously.  Our mobile and online platforms are up to date with the latest security standards.  To learn more, talk to your local Bank of Southern California branch.