In 2016, there are an estimated 4.61 billion mobile phone users worldwide. Mobile devices store a range of private information, from passwords to bank account information. Because of the value of this sensitive data, mobile devices are often a target for malicious attacks. But there are a number of mobile vulnerabilities that exist outside of malicious attacks, too.

The good news is that there are ways to strengthen your mobile device’s security to prevent your data from falling into the wrong hands. Here, we detail several areas of mobile vulnerability and tips on how to make your mobile devices more secure. Be sure to pass these tips along to your employees, as their mobile devices likely contain sensitive company information as well.

Operating Systems

Your operating system (OS) is the software used to run your device. On Apple products, you’re running off iOS. Other mobile devices like Samsung and LG phones run off the Android OS. Others like the Microsoft Lumia run off the Windows OS.

Operating systems like this pose vulnerabilities because they are so widely used. That makes them a target for hackers. Once hackers learn the holes in the system, they can attack multiple devices.

The first step to avoiding operating system vulnerabilities is to make sure your software is up to date. If you have an older version of the OS on your device, that means that hackers have had longer to learn the system holes. An updated version of your OS will help to seal the problems with the older version. Hackers will have to relearn the system to see where the vulnerabilities lie.

You might also install third-party applications, such as anti-virus software, to help combat any problems with your current OS.

The reality is that all operating systems contain vulnerabilities, but by keeping your software up-to-date — which may mean you need to update your device to accommodate that software — you should be at a lower risk of encountering security issues.

Installed Apps

Installed apps have many benefits, and there are numerous apps available to help secure your device. However, other apps pose security risks. If the app itself is not secure and falls victim to an attack, then your information becomes vulnerable. Or, you may download an app that appears safe, only to find that it is ridden with malware, meaning hackers can monitor your device and steal sensitive data.

But it’s not just hackers you have to watch out for. Application functions also pose a risk to your security. For example, sharing sensitive data over collaboration apps could be hazardous if your collaborators don’t have proper security measures in place on their devices.

Start by researching the apps you download. Just because they’re available in your app store doesn’t mean they’re safe. Have other people had problems with the app in the past? Is it developed by a reputable company with their own security measures in place?

Also, pay attention to what permissions you’re giving the app. Is there a reason for the app to be able to access your contacts, photos, device information, etc.? If not, you may want to steer clear.

Configuration of Security Options

It’s important to pay attention to how you configure your security options on your device. For example, if you allow your device to download applications from any third-party, you may end up downloading dangerous applications that you didn’t intend to. By making sure you can only download from your app store, your device will warn you if other applications begin downloading.

You’ll also want to enable device encryption, which keeps your data secure when your device is locked. Also, pay attention to how long it takes for your screen to time out. If you set down your phone and it doesn’t lock after several seconds, anyone could walk up to it minutes later and access your unlocked content.

View your security options in your settings panel, and make sure you’re taking advantage of the full range of settings your device offers.

Insecured Stored Data

If your device information does fall into the wrong hands, one of the biggest problems is having sensitive information stored on your device, such as personal, financial, and medical data. The best thing is to avoid storing this information on your mobile device. That way, if something were to happen to it, there wouldn’t be much information for another person to access.

Unsecured Wi-Fi and Hotspots

Connecting to unsecured Wi-Fi and hotspots, in some cases, means that others can see what’s happening on your device. They could, for example, get ahold of your bank account password if you access it over that network. Sometimes, you don’t even intend to connect to unsecured Wi-Fi. Instead, your device will automatically search and connect to whatever is nearby. If you’re not at home on a secured network, then turn your Wi-Fi off to prevent unwanted connections.

Privacy Weakness

Should anyone access your phone through any method, such as malicious attacks, over unsecured networks, or by picking up your phone and browsing through it, they may be able to get ahold of private data. This can be as innocent as photos, texts, emails, and social media information, but these can hold information like passwords, credit card numbers, etc.

Secure these applications as well. You can add a layer of protection by requiring a password and logging out every time you use an email or social media app.

Unprotected Credentials

Malware and hackers aren’t the only security threats to your mobile device. If it’s lost or stolen and you don’t have proper security measures in place, anyone can easily get into your device. Be sure you’re the only one who can access it by setting up strong passwords (both for the lock screen and your applications) and by using different usernames and passwords for each app.

Consider installing a security app that will allow you to locate and lock your device remotely if you lose it. However, be sure to do your research on the app you’re installing to make sure it’s not a threat itself.

Although these mentioned vulnerabilities pose security threats, there’s plenty you can do to secure your device and help your employees secure theirs as well. Be aware of the risks, take the proper measures to limit that risk, and consult with third-party experts if you’d like to take your mobile security to the next level.