Five ways to keep your mobile data safe

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Think about all the things that you use your mobile phone for every day. If you have a smartphone the chances are your handset contains all your contacts, personal photos and videos. You may also use your phone for shopping and banking.

The essential role that mobile devices play in our lives means that we are storing more and more personal data on them. How can we be certain that this information is as secure as possible?

1. Back it up

Many people lose their phones, have them stolen or damaged every year. So it's a good idea to make sure the data on your phone is backed up somewhere. You can do this by 'syncing' your phone to your laptop, desktop or an external hard drive.

You could also back up your data to a cloud service so that all your files are stored on a web server that you can access anywhere using any device. It's best to back up your data on a regular basis.

2. Avoid public wi-fi for transactions

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Using wi-fi in a public place such as a hotel, café or bar can expose your data to a network which is not secure.

It is possible for criminals to use special software to snoop on your activities over the wi-fi network - even if you're using a password.

Never use public wi-fi connections for confidential transactions like banking and shopping.

3. Check the wi-fi network

When you're out and about it can be easy to connect to wi-fi, but criminals have become adept at setting up fake wi-fi networks which allow them to steal your details. For your own peace of mind, ask somebody who works at the place where you are using the wi-fi to confirm that you're connecting to their network.

4. Check app privacy settings

In your settings menu, check carefully what level of access to your data that these apps have. Some apps allow you to share your location information publicly. While this might be useful at times, it may give potential criminals too much detailed information about your whereabouts. Check carefully which apps have access to your location information. If it's not needed for that app, turn it off.

5. Log out and set a PIN lock

By logging out of apps and programs when you finish using them, you leave your data less exposed should somebody come by your phone. Setting a PIN will also provide protection for your data. Make your device more secure by setting it to lock after a short amount of time such as a minute. This will lessen the risk of someone picking up your phone and being able to access your data.

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