You might have taken steps to protect your laptop and PC from privacy invasions, but have you done the same for your smartphone?

We live in an era where we rely substantially on technology and the Internet to make our lives just that much easier. The question however is if we are so quick to connect, how much effort do we really put into protecting our digital devices and privacy online?

A recent online poll* commissioned by Kaspersky Lab showed that in South Africa 89% of respondents own a smartphone, 54% a tablet and 77% a laptop – that is a lot of devices.

However, what does stand out is the fact that mobile devices, above any other device, have the largest penetration. And, while we know that any device that has Internet connectivity can expose you to possible cybercriminal threats and activities, too often people understand the need to protect a PC or laptop, yet completely overlook their mobile devices – and this can leave them vulnerable.

So, here are a few tips from Riaan Badenhorst, General Manager, Kaspersky Lab Africa to assist in placing a strong focus on the protection of all your technology devices:

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Lock it

Mobile devices should always be protected with a password. This is what we consider the first line of defence, yet it remains an important one. A password ensures that – in the event of a device being lost or stolen – the information stored on the device is difficult to access.

Lower your risk of threat

Although very useful and conveniently handy, mobile devices shouldn’t store all your sensitive data. Sure – you might need to have a couple of important documents saved to your phone or laptop, however, these devices should not become your ‘storage warehouse’ for all your sensitive documentation – including work and personal related information and passwords.

If you prefer to keep digital records of important documents and passwords, etc., consider getting an external hard drive. This is a device that you can access when you need to find specific information and it can be stored safely at home under lock-and-key when you don’t need it.

Manage your risk on open Wi-Fi

Open and free Wi-Fi hotspots are a fast-growing trend in South Africa, and while these hotspots and open access networks can offer a lot of convenience, it is not advisable to leave your Wi-Fi connection application on for your mobile device (mobile phone or laptop) to automatically connect.

Often these Wi-Fi connections do not operate off a secure network, where even connecting briefly to an open Wi-Fi network places your device – and you – at risk to possible cybercriminal threats and activities. Rather use an internet dongle to connect or create a hot-spot using your mobile phone, which of course should be protected.

Be SMART about apps

Only download apps from reputable and trusted platforms (such as the Apple App Store or the Google Play store). Trusted sources vet all the apps they sell to ensure that they have the suitable safety properties in place. Despite this however, it is always important to be wary of the permissions you agree to, when downloading any app, to keep your information safe.

Remember, these tips are a great starting point in taking responsibility of your digital world. So, make sure you download Internet security solutions that can also help you in protecting all your devices. Good luck with your journey of protection, may it be a secure, smart and safe one!

*Kaspersky Lab worked with Associated Media to run an online survey asking questions related to the connected home and the security of connected devices. There were 266 respondents to the survey.