7 tips to secure your Windows Phone

After computers and laptops, it is now the mobile phones and the smartphones which are expected to bear the brunt of malware attacks.

You may have heard of several recent reports of Android Phones being infected by malware. Basically the Android apps were carriers of malware and these were installed by the phone users.

If you haven’t hacked/jail-broken your Windows Phone or iPhone, you have little to worry about … for the moment atleast, since apps for these phones are installed through their respective MarketPlace/iTunes/Zune  websites. These apps are checked, digitally signed and vetted by the respective companies, viz Apple and Microsoft.

Nevertheless, its always a good practice to follow some basic steps to ensure the security of your smart phone, since you carry your important data and your virtual world in it!

Windows Phone Security Tips

Here are a few tips which may help you to secure your Windows Phone.

1. Download Games and Apps only from trusted sources. For Windows Phone, you can only install apps from the Zune Marketplace. This means that they have been digitally signed, which reduces your risk. As mentioned, Apple uses the same model for iPhone. With Google’s Android, you have to be careful!

2. Install your Windows Phone updates as soon as they are made available. These may be some security updates too!

3. Use passwords to protect your Windows Phone and important data. Set up a password for the WP lockscreen. Imagine what would happen if your un-protected phone were to get lost! Everything including your social networking accounts, email accounts, important data, would be available to a total stranger, for potential misuse. Use a secure password manager or an eWallet app to save and store all your important passwords, and credentials and data safely. Do remember to backup your data regularly.

4. Use a PIN (Personal Identification Number) for the SIM (Subscriber Identity Module) card in your phone to prevent people from making unauthorized phone calls.

5. If your smartphone has a “Find My Phone” feature that helps you find it if you lose it or if it is stolen, do the needful and enable it. Windows Phone 7 includes a “Find My Phone” feature that allows you to find a lost phone, lock it remotely, and also wipe it remotely so that no one can get access to the information there. iPhone also has a “Find my iPhone” feature. If your phone does not have this feature, you can usually install a third-party app that can do this for you.

6. Set your IE browser to not store Cookies. Cookies are small files on your phone that websites use to remember things like your password or preferences, so you don’t have to retype information each time you visit. If you choose to have it store cookies, then regularly delete your IE browser cookies and browsing history.

7. Avoid accessing password protected websites when using a public or an unsecured WiFi network as WiFi hackers can easily capture your passwords and access your data over such networks.

UPDATE: 11th April 2012. Windows Phones offers powerful tools that enable you to work remotely and protecting yourself therefore is very important. You can also download the Securing your Windows Phone Guide from Microsoft. It provides some addtional detailed information on securing your Windows Phone.

Stay safe!

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.