Our top 10 smartphone security tips

1. Never store passwords on your smartphone

Many people still try to hide passwords or PIN numbers within the body of text or phone numbers. However, despite how cleverly you may think you've concealed them, criminals know what to look for and where. It's always best to commit these security details to memory and not record them anywhere. This includes not ticking "save password" on website and applications that offer to remember your login details.

2. Install smartphone security software

Just like with your home PC, it's critically important to have good virus protection software on your smartphone, and to keep it up to date.

3. Turn off tethering, Wi-Fi™ and Bluetooth™ when not in use

The most common way smartphones are compromised is by downloading malicious software (malware) concealed in a file or application. Your Wi-Fi™ and Bluetooth™ are the entry point to your smartphone, and when activated are constantly scanning for other signals trying to connect. Criminals can exploit this functionality by sending malware to your smartphone without your knowledge, and having tethering turned on can give them access to your computer. Be safe and immediately switch off tethering, WiFi™ and Bluetooth™ when you don't need to connect to the Internet or a network.

4. Only use Wi-Fi™ hot spots that are reputable and password protected

If you connect to a shared Wi-Fi™ hotspot, you are completely dependent on the security of the host network. If the network is unsecured, criminals can hijack it, give their own network a similar name, and fool your smartphone into connecting to their network instead. From there they can spoof all kinds of websites and trick you into divulging your personal details. Take care to only connect to Wi-Fi™ hot spots you trust.

5. Install remote data wiping software

Programs that can remotely wipe data if you lose your smartphone are now available. You can use these to wipe your personal data from your smartphone if you lose it, preventing anyone from accessing it. Find a suitable remote wiping program for your smartphone, and learn how to activate it if needed.

6. Activate smartphone security settings and password protection

All smartphones have built-in security features such as auto locking and password protection. While it may seem like a bit of an inconvenience at times, these physical security measures are your first line of defence in keeping your smartphone and your personal details safe.

7. Don't be tempted to 'jailbreak' your smartphone as this makes it vulnerable to malware

If you crack the manufacturer's security on your smartphone, you not only make your warranty invalid but you make it much more vulnerable to attacks by cybercriminals.

8. Limit the amount of personal information on your phone

Criminals are interested in more than just your Internet Banking details. Any kind of personal information can be used to steal your identity, which criminals can then use to apply for credit cards, personal loans, even mortgages. By being careful about the information you have stored on your smartphone you can help protect your identity if your smartphone is lost, stolen, or hijacked.

9. Make sure you delete all personal details if you sell or discard your smartphone

If you sell or discard your smartphone, it's crucial you delete all personal information first. This can include SMS messages, emails, photographs, contact details and Internet links. Criminals can use such information to commit fraud against you, or apply for credit cards and loans in your name.

10. Never open attachments or download applications from untrusted sources

Criminals use infected documents and applications to spread malware and compromise their victim's smartphones. Never open an attachment or download an application from a person or website you're not sure about.