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Where's The Money? | Ways to keep your phone safe

Your phone is an extension of your online life. Here are three ways to make sure your devices are protected against hackers.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — With the recent news of pipelines being hacked and major companies having to pay ransom to get their files back, it might leave you wondering how secure your devices are.

It has become way more than just a mobile phone. In all reality, our phones are an extension of our online life. We bank on it, we monitor financial investments on it, and we might even save password lists to a variety of sites.

First, who is vulnerable? The answer is everyone. Will you know if you have been hacked or had spyware put on your phone? Likely no, which is why this information is so important.

Know that spyware can collect all of your information, stuff like passwords, contacts, photos, videos, and documents that you have stored on your phone or computer.

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So, how can you make sure your phone is secure? Here are three things you can do to make sure your phone, and the information on it, are locked down tight.

  1.  Make sure your automatic updates are enabled, you can do that in settings. The newer the device, the better the security will be. Big tech sends updates and patches automatically to keep up with current threats, so make sure that’s turned on.  
  2. Don’t use the same password for everything. 13% of the people polled in a Harris poll use the same password for everything and 52% use the same passwords across multiple accounts, so change them, and make them stronger. Phrases unique to you are strong and should be easier to remember. Resist the urge to use names of pets, kids, and birthdays and anniversaries. Most of that information is available on Facebook. Lock those accounts down, don’t keep them public. It's shocking how many people have open pages for anyone to see.
  3. Enable two-factor authentication. When you enter your password, it’ll send you a code to your phone or email. Experts say that’s a great security measure. 

Lastly, don’t click on odd emails or messages from long-lost friends that suddenly drop in out of the blue with a link to photos or some other link they want you to click on. Also, be wary of the “click here for the good deal coupon." It can show up from any store. Before you click, google the ad to see if it’s real, but don’t just blindly click.  

We don’t want to admit it, but operator error and password laziness are the two things that make us the most vulnerable.

WCNC Charlotte is always asking "where's the money?" If you need help, reach out to the Defenders team by emailing money@wcnc.com.

Contact Bill McGinty at bmcginty@wcnc.com and follow him on Facebook. 

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