Your entire life is on your phone. Everyone you know, all your pictures, all your banking details. Everything. It’s an indispensable item, a technological marvel, and something that’s arguably reshaped the world, the smartphone is seldom far from our reach.
But with all of the positives that smartphones bring to our lives, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the potential security risks related to the device you’re likely reading this on, and how you’re setting yourself up to be hacked if you don’t get smarter.
According to app Locket, after tracking its 150,000 of its users, it found they checked their devices on average 110 times a day.
We’re spending a large amount of our lives and doing more and more on these increasingly capable phones, storing our entire lives on these little rectangles.
And you will probably have heard it mentioned that your smartphone is more powerful than the computers NASA used to put a man on the moon in 1969.
There’s great power, but also an element of responsibility attached to your phone. This is the case when it comes to keeping your data safe. (It’s your duty and not your service provider’s. Check your T&Cs…)
Here are four basic steps to prevent your smartphone from being hacked, and to keep your stuff safe.
1) Update often:
Software companies update their firmware regularly for good reason. You know who doesn’t update, people prepared to lose their data.
Apple tackled a particularly troubling set of vulnerabilities in iOS 10.2.1 in January, after it found complete control of a phone could be gained, pre-update. “Want to record conversations and forward them to someone else? [The vulnerability] can do that,” JP Taggart of Malwarebytes told Wired about a set of problems with the phones’ WebKit engine. “Want to install additional malicious software? It can do that. Want to uninstall programs on the affected phone? It can do that. Want to hide these actions, programs and files from the user? It can do that, too.” It was a worrying backdoor into iPhones. For Android users, Samsung have been keeping users on the front foot and responding to potential data vulnerabilities with an ongoing commitment with Google with regular software updates, that you can keep track of here.
If you don’t update, you leave the door wide open. You should update your operating system as soon as it’s possible to.
2) Be careful with public Wi-Fi:
Free, unsecured Wi-Fi is attractive, who hasn’t logged on at McDonald’s to check Facebook? Data costs money, and if you’re outside your allowance and you want to bank, browse or stream, then a public hotspot might look pretty good. Kaspersky points out that hackers can try to get between your device and the connection point, so you should – at the very least – use a VPN and https websites to encrypt your info, turn off sharing and even turn off Wi-Fi if you don’t need to use it.
3) Don’t click on anything from an unknown sender:
It seems like a no-brainer, but it’s not just your grandparents doing it; lots of people still click on suspicious links. Don’t. Email phishing has enjoyed a high-profile in the last year, and it still compromises users’ data. And although SMS worms haven’t been as prominent as they were in 2014, it’s a bad idea to click on any weird links sent by text, too. But what about dodgy phone calls? Features like Smart Call detect spam numbers, even if they are not in your phonebook, preventing those annoying telemarketing or scam calls.
4) Beware of third-party apps:
It might be appealing to download an app for free from a non-mainstream app store, but this can cause your device to become infected with malware. The “Gooligan” malware problem affected over a million users mid to late last year. It infected Android devices, stealing authentication tokens, downloading other apps and breaching users’ Google accounts. However, Samsung devices now have McAfee protection built-in, as well as a ‘secure folder for those private images and apps that need to remain…private.
SOURCE: Brent Balinski