Drops, Dust and Security – How You Can Protect Your Smartphone

What easy steps can you take to keep having fun and not frustration with your new device for as long as possible?

Drops, Dust and Security – How You Can Protect Your Smartphone
Protect your Smartphone against drops, dust malware and software errors.

Not just for Apple’s products do we have to dig deep into our pockets, Android also has an ever-wider range of premium devices. And when you make such an investment, it has to be protected – so your smartphone is no exception.

First of all, we have to answer the question of what we need or want to protect our phone against. On the one hand there are physical things such as dropping it, water/condensation and dust, but on the other hand we shouldn’t neglect its software and security. Let’s take a closer look at what we can do.

Physical Smartphone Protection

Glass films are a proven means of protecting large touch displays from scratches. They are affordable and available for almost any display format. An extra tip – a privacy film cover can be a really useful addition.

Privacy films which protect against inquisitive glances, such as that of the person sitting next to you on the train, can be attached to displays. Only those who look at the display at the right angle can see the screen’s content. However, privacy films have two minor disadvantages. The screen brightness is reduced slightly, and the haptics of the touch screen can be easily influenced.

A good case can help against dust. It’s important that the case isn’t too bulky and that the phone still fits in the case. You should also make sure that the case actually protects the display in the event of a fall, i.e. that the edges of the case go above the display. Cases with an anti-slip coating are also very useful.

Protecting yourself against water damage is somewhat more difficult, as it is impossible to fully seal the numerous openings for the microphone, loudspeaker and charger. Unfortunately, it is difficult to do anything to protect from falling into deep water, except to buy an outdoor phone that has been designated as waterproof.

However, damage caused by condensation can be prevented quite easily. Condensation damage occurs when the phone is quickly exposed to different temperatures. If in winter, we go from the cold outdoors into a warm building we will see condensation on the display. The phone should not be left to get too cold in winter (this is also not good for the battery!) and worn close to your body. This will ensure the temperature difference is not too great when heading back inside.

However, the best hardware protection and the most careful handling cannot protect against threats related to the software and operating system on our phones. But there is also a lot that can be undertake against these threats.

Smartphone Protection against Malware and Software Errors

We store a lot of confidential things on our mobile devices. Many users also use their mobile phones for payment processes and online banking, access work data and store very private photos on them. The good news is that mobile devices are generally less susceptible to viruses and malware than traditional computers with “full-grown” operating systems. The reasons for this are sophisticated security mechanisms and a “smoothing” and simplification of their operation, which limits the end user somewhat, but can protect them from gross errors that impair the security of the device. This is also necessary because, as in many systems, us humans are often the weakest point. So, what can we do to help the system’s security mechanisms protect our data?

Updates are the be-all and end-all when it comes to device security. Make sure you always use the latest version of your mobile operating system. Install security updates and visit the Play Store and AppStore often and see if there are any updates available for your apps. Especially with Android this is essential and the reliability of the manufacturer, regarding the update frequency and support duration, should actually be something you take into serious consideration when choosing your smartphone.

The relevance of jailbreaks (in iOS – rooting) has steadily decreased in recent years. What is rooting though and why is it a problem? As mentioned above, some of the user’s options on the mobile device have been deliberately reduced. Among these abilities that have been limited is the execution of commands with increased (system) rights. With these rights, central properties of the mobile device and the operating system can be changed. However, devices are often rooted to install pirated apps or apps that are not shared by Apple and Google. However tempting this may be, if you’re not an iOS or Android programmer or a security expert, or didn’t know what rooting was before reading this article, then leave it. Not only do you then have extended rights on your device, but so do the apps you install (either consciously or unconsciously). And they can then very easily disable built-in operating system security mechanisms and bypass them completely.

How to Protect Your Smartphone at Work

If you use your new device for work, make sure that your company uses a suitable MDM system that protects both your private data from company access and your company data from your private apps. WhatsApp and Facebook can synchronize your contact information with Facebook. What is really convenient for private contacts is dangerous for companies and can lead to costly data protection fines. An MDM system can prevent this without affecting the synchronization of private contacts. The admin can also use an MDM solution such as Cortado to install and automatically set up advanced security features such as VPN on mobile devices. A win-win situation for both you and your admin!

If you take these couple of tips to heart, you’ll enjoy your smartphone for a long time to come. A drop won’t be a financial disaster, you can read confidential e-mails in a full train, and your phone will always be up to date. In addition, you can work productively with it and benefit from the security concepts of both your company and the mobile device manufacturers. Well done!